Beginning in early 2005 and slated for completion by March 2006 the firm said it would expand aspartame manufacturing plants in Yokkaichi, Japan and Gravelines, France to achieve 10,000 mt global capacity for its amino acid based sweetener.
"Recent market data shows that the increasing demand for products containing aspartame, such as low calorie soft drinks, is a world wide phenomenon, extending beyond the US and Europe," said Egashira, president and CEO, at Ajinomoto.
The global market for alternative sweeteners, currently leading growth in the food additives market, holds considerable potential- growing 8.3 per cent year on year until 2008 according to market analysts Freedonia - as rising health concerns drive consumers towards sugar free products and food makers introduce zero-calorie or low-calorie sugar substitutes into their new product formulations.
By 2008 Freedonia predicts food makers in the US alone will call on $5.1 billion (€4.14bn) worth of food additives.
Approved in more than 100 countries, aspartame, about 200 times sweeter than sucrose, is made from two kinds of amino acids - aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
Applications include carbonated and powdered soft drinks, chewing gum, confections, gelatins, dessert mixes, fillings, frozen desserts, yoghurt and tabletop sweeteners.