Is Stevia a Sweet Investment?

According to the answer is yes! In record time stevia has taken up a serious chunk of the $1.3 billion global artificial sweetener market. Consider the highlights below on why the stevia is likely to continue to enjoy enormous growth.

  • Domino Sugar, the world largest refiner of sugar cane, will by year end, launch its first stevia based no calorie and natural sweetener.
  • Perhaps better known, Coca-Cola and Pepsico have launched their Coca-Cola Life and Pepsi True product lines. Both ‘hybrid’ products contain less calories and are both partially sweetened with stevia. Coca-Cola has also used it, in their Vitamin water, albeit with limited success. It was a success in the UK, yet it was pulled from US shelves earlier this year. Coca-Cola life is set to become a hit however.
  • Zenith International reported that stevia sales are set to reach 4,670 metric tons, a 14% increase representing $336m.
  • Perhaps surprisingly the biggest sufferer is not sugar but corn syrup. Euromonitor predictions don’t hold much good for the artificial sweetener market either as they expect total demand to drop by a third to 3,243 tons by 2018.
  • The article notes that currently the big sugar giants, such as Domino Sugar, Imperial Sugar and Cargill are dominating stevia related product launches. Yet they also note that new comers, like PureCircle, currently produces over 80% of total high purity stevia ingredients. A major problem has been that many parties do not have access to a steady and high quality supply of stevia leaf. Most stevia leaf is still sourced from small scale farmers in China. PureCircle contracted over 5000 farmers to cater for their stevia leaf requirements. More reliable sources of stevia leaf can therefore contribute to further market growth/adoption.

Euromonitor predicts that stevia sales are due to go up from 14.5 tonnes in 2008 to 600 tonnes in 2018. Stevia only represented 1.5% in new US food product launches during the first 9 months of the year. The largest uptake came from the beverage industry. Considering the global sweetener market represents $60 billion, there is still a lot of potential out there!



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