Due to exploding market demand, Industry has embraced stevia as the healthy sweetener of choice.
Owing to the relatively early stage of the market’s development, estimates regarding global sales of stevia-based products remain very promising.
Meanwhile, a report from Packaged Facts of the US estimates the world stevia market (defined as including sales through both retail and wholesale channels) as lying somewhere between $800m and $2bn in 2011, up from just $20m in 2008. Much of this growth was attributed to stevia having gained regulatory approval in the potentially sizable US market, where sales of intense sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame remain above the global average.
The US has been a significant contributor towards much of the recent growth in the usage of stevia by the food industry since 2008. At present, the US is thought to account for more than 80% of worldwide sales of reb A. Annual retail sales of US food and drinks promoted as containing stevia have grown from practically zero to over $1bn since regulatory approval was granted.
New markets for stevia-based sweeteners are expected to open up in India and parts of the Middle East in the near future, following on from the EU.
According to Zenith International, the global market for stevia is forecast to reach 11,000 tonnes by the middle of the current decade, equivalent to value sales worth $825m. Meanwhile, a recent industry presentation from PureCircle CFO William Mitchell predicted that world demand for stevia leaves would exceed 8m tonnes by 2020, while global sales of reb A may reach as high as $10bn over the next few years. Williams also says reb A has the potential to penetrate up to 25% of the world sugar market.
An ever-growing demand for sugar and a global sugar supply shortfall greatly strengthens the opportunity for stevia-based sweeteners to gain valuable market share.
Global consumption of sugar is forecast to rise by more than 50% to almost 260 million metric tonnes by 2030. Sugar is the second most common ingredient in food after water, with annual global sugar consumption estimated at 160 million metric tonnes per year; a $50 billion annual market.
According to Mintel, the global market for stevia sweeteners has just hit $1 billion and could reach $10 billion by 2014.
Asia will remain the biggest consumer of sugar, increasing its share of total consumption from around 40% in 2010, to 49% in 2030. India’s consumption will nearly double over the next 20 years, and Chinese consumption will overtake EU consumption in around 2014.
WHO estimates stevia could replace 20% of that market; (32 million tons of sugar equivalent) – representing a global market for Reb A of $10 billion a year.