Canada-based refinery NovaGreen has announced plans to produce sugar substitute xylitol over the next two years to supply confectioners in North America.
Xylitol is a sweetener that can be used in sugar-free chewing gum and other foods that is often coupled with health claims, such as “reduced calories” or “reduced risk to tooth decay”.
NovaGreen CEO Barry Farquharson said: “North American food producers look primarily to China or Europe for their xylitol requirements.”
“NovaGreen will provide a domestically available product source that provides a consistently high-quality product for their high-demand functional food solutions.”
According to the company, the global market for xylitol stands at around $400-500m, while the US market is estimated at $159m.
It said the sweetener had seen a compound annual growth rate of nearly 25% since 2002.
NovaGreen claims its production costs are lower than the current large-volume wholesale price of about $4.50/kg Cdn, or $2.05/lb.