The Ingredients Network reported that demand for high intensity sweetener is set to slow, particularly in the EU and USA, yet they do see a rise in popularity for natural alternatives such as stevia. IHS Marifaith Hackett, director of specialty chemicals research at IHS Chemical comment that: ”Demand is growing in both developed and developing markets, and by 2018, we expect demand for stevia extract to reach three thousand to four thousand metric tons annually.” This is double compared to current demand which in 2013 stood at two metric tonnes.
Increased demand is expected from traditionally high end user for high intensity sweeteners such as the beverage industry. Think for example of recent product launches such as Coke Life and Pepsi Next. Yet increased demand is also expected from the increasingly health conscious EU and US consumers; “Health-conscious consumers are drinking fewer sodas. In addition, they are seeking out beverages and foods made with natural ingredients, including sweeteners such as stevia extract. The challenge for food producers is to find sweeteners that meet consumer expectations but also taste good and meet cost and performance parameters. When it comes to taste, refined sugar remains the ‘gold standard’.”