A Perfect Storm Driving Market Demand
Driven by a near perfect storm of demand, the market for all natural, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners is increasing dramatically. A leading stevia manufacturer has predicted a global stevia products industry using Reb A could be valued at $10 billion in coming years. The World Health Organization (WHO) previously estimated that stevia intake could eventually replace 20-30% of all dietary sweeteners. The total global sweetener market was estimated at $58.3 billion in 2010.
Market drivers include:
Soaring rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Increases in the rates of these diseases are linked to high consumption of sugar and/or high-calorie sweeteners, and are soaring worldwide.
Consumer demand for low and non-calorie, natural foods with clear labelling. Consumers worldwide also remain concerned about artificial sweeteners’ safety.
Governments facing rapidly rising health care goods. Governments worldwide are developing policies and regulations to penalize unhealthy diets and support healthy ones.
Michelle’s Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative targets childhood obesity. In June 2009, top US nutrition experts, health organizations, leading doctors and medical academics joined forces to ask President Barack Obama to combat obesity by creating a Presidential Commission on “Healthy Weights, Healthy Lives” to coordinate the activities of the Departments of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, and other agencies involved in food and health, to create policies that promote health across the country.
Sugar prices recently hit 30-year highs. Rising demand for corn for biofuel has been pushing up the price for sugar’s traditional lower-cost alternative, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
The rapidly growing demand for stevia sweeteners is also in lockstep with a looming shortfall in sugar supply. Driven largely by increasing demand in India and China, the price of sugar price rose from about $0.10 per lb. to more than $0.60 per lb. over the last 10 years. Global sugar consumption is forecast to rise by more than 50% to nearly 260 million tons by 2030. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that stevia could eventually replace 20%-30% of the global dietary sweetener intake.
Stevia’s Popularity Spans the Globe
Food consultancy Zenith International reports that stevia products saw a 27% increase in worldwide volume sales in 2010 over 2009, taking its overall market value to US$285 million. From mid-2009 to mid-2010, new product launches using stevia extracts increased by 200%, with products launched in 35 countries – 237 new products in the first half of 2010 alone, according to market research firm Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD). Mintel values the natural sweetener product market at US $763 million in 2010, with the stevia market alone at $670 million. A leading stevia manufacturer has projected that stevia will penetrate 20% to 25% of the US$60 billion global sugar/ sweetener market.
Regulatory approval in the European Union (granted in November 2011) has set the stage for stevia use to explode on the other side of the Atlantic in 2012 and beyond. Asia Pacific, where the ingredient has been used as a sweetener in some regions for decades, has the largest market share for stevia at 35.7%, followed by North America (30%) and South America (24.3%).