Originally it was thought that stevia’s market would be restricted to zero calorie beverage applications and would primarily be a premium priced natural ingredient replacement for artificial High Intensity Sweeteners (“HIS”). While stevia did make a large impact within the $8 billion HIS sector, overtaking Aspartame within its first year of launch, the potential market has expanded to the entire sweetener market and across all food & beverage categories.
Sugar consumed annually: 160 million tons worldwide. Current value over $50 Billion annually.
World Health Organization estimate: Stevia poised to replace 20% of the sugar market.
A Potential Multi-Billion market share for Stevia
There were two key developments that have opened the market:
First, there was proven consumer demand for all natural reduced calorie products where Stevia was blended with sugar reducing caloric value by 30 to 40 percent without sacrificing the functionality and taste of sugar.
Second, high purity total steviol glycosides with reduced Reb-A content were granted GRAS status by the FDA in 2010. This allowed for stevia products to be formulated across a wide range of sweetness at less than 50% of the cost of high purity Reb-A and costing less than sugar while becoming an economic advantage enabling a premium all natural low calorie product desired by the consumer.
Caloric Comparison in Various Foods
|Carbonated Soft Drink (0.24 L)||1||103||99% Reduction|
|Lemonade 0.24 L||5||107||95% Reduction|
|Chocolate Pudding ½ cup||90||172||48% Reduction|
|Hot Chocolate 0.24 L||64||148||57% Reduction|
|Yoghurt ½ cup||100||210||52% Reduction|
The two industry leaders, PureCircle and GLG Life Tech, have partnered with major sugar manufacturers in the US, Denmark, France, Great Britain, and Australia to market blended reduced calorie products. PureCircle joined with US sugar giant, Imperial Sugar, and formed a joint venture, Natural Sweet Ventures, to launch SteviaCane as a retail steviasucrose product for household consumption. The initial trial launch in 200 retail stores in Texas is outperforming expectations.
The entire sweetener market currently averages $80 billion split into three main categories: Sugar (82%), High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – (9%), and High Intensity Sweeteners (HIS) – (9%). Overall the sweetener market is growing, but HFCS and artificial HIS ingredients are being replaced with natural alternatives such as stevia. In addition, stevia is being blended with sugar to meet the low calorie consumer requirements while still maintaining functionality and taste.
Given that the standard product development and launch cycle is eighteen months to three or more years, it is expected that the true market size potential and consumer acceptance will only be confirmed as time goes on.