Food Sweetener Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)
The global food sweetener market was valued at USD 85.92 billion in 2020 and is projected to witness a CAGR of 2.49% during the forecast period (2021-2026).
As the COVID-19 outbreak continued to spread globally, the demand for sugarless and low-calorie foods witnessed a slump, which has slightly disrupted the application segment of food sweeteners across the market. However, a few sugar substitutes are expecting a growing demand in the near future, driven by the rising sales, especially of artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners. By using different blends of low-calorie sweeteners, subtle taste options can be achieved. Manufacturers choose the low-calorie sweetener, either on its own or as a blend, based on taste considerations, stability, and cost during times of pandemic.
Increasing concern regarding the prevalence of obesity is encouraging consumers to opt for natural and zero-calorie sweeteners, such as stevia. According to the Global Stevia Institute's internal survey, approximately 60% of Americans prefer low-calorie sugar alcohols in their foods.
Furthermore, the consumption of sugar substitutes, such as xylitol, erythritol, and mannitol, is rapidly increasing across the world. This is attributed to consumer awareness, government regulations to reduce sugar consumption, and their application in many health and wellness food products in the market.
Inclination toward low-calorie beverages, such as diet coke and low-calorie drinks, and low-calorie foods, such as yogurt, ice cream, and grain-based desserts, has gained popularity worldwide. The physiology of sweetness receptors is also being studied in greater details, with an endeavor to make food and beverages sweet without using sugar. This has greatly helped the global food sweetener market.
The shift in the preference for convenience (driven largely by urbanization), growing working-women population, and rising household incomes, among others, are the factors driving the demand for sweeteners in the emerging economies. Overall, the huge demand for food in developing countries has led the entire value chain to open markets for food sweeteners, thereby driving the demand for food sweeteners.
The majority of countries with high consumption of sugar fall in the category of emerging economies, and consequently, these nations have a higher burden of lifestyle diseases, as pointed out by the World Health Organization (WHO). The consumption of high-intensity sweeteners in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Japan is expected to grow at lower rates, as the diet beverages market, the largest application sector, has matured. However, the demand in developing economies is expected to increase during the forecast period.
China is one of the world's largest producers of sweeteners, dominating the global market for many high-intensity sweeteners, such as saccharin, cyclamate, acesulfame-K (Ace-K), stevia, aspartame, sucralose, glycyrrhizin, alitame, and neotame. Also, the consumption of sweeteners is rising rapidly in China due to the increasing demand for sugar-enriched food and beverage products. Moreover, with the growing economic importance of stevia in the country, players are focusing more on this market. Stevia producer PureCircle is seeking to ramp up production for the Chinese market after receiving a patent for its stevia Reb M sweetener in the country. Further to this, the increasing demand for natural and healthful alternatives in the region has grabbed the attention of many food and beverage giants in Asia. For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi's market shares have drastically declined due to the use of aspartame. Bearing this in mind, they have expanded their product ranges with natural plant-based stevia.
Therefore, increased demand for natural, non-caloric sweeteners, and high demand for sweeteners in various applications, such as processed food and beverages from emerging economies in Asia, are the major factors driving the market growth.
The food sweetener market is currently dominated by Cargill, Tate & Lyle PLC, Stevia First Corp, Ingredion, Pure Circle, Sudzucker, and AB Sugar, among others. Strong brand loyalty for brands, like Cargill, Stevia First Corp, and Tate & Lyle, in the emerging countries is the primary reason for these players to enjoy a strong foothold in these markets. Acquisitions and new product launches are the most preferred growth strategies. Leading companies are focusing on expansions and partnerships. The market leaders are focused on launching innovative, low-calorie, and natural ingredient-based products. Huge investments have been made in R&D to develop products for specific needs.