Demand for the company's sucralose sugar replacer, 600 times sweeter than sugar and sold under the Splenda brand, has seen major international players like PepsiCo, General Mills and Unilever introduce the sweetener into a range or reduced-sugar formulations.
Last week the FTSE International, the index compilers, promoted the sweeteners company into the FTSE 100 based on 6 December closing prices.
Stocks with a market capitalisation greater than the 90th biggest stock in the blue chip FTSE 100 index are automatically included into the index while stocks lower than 110th are demoted.
Growing the added value sweetener business has helped Tate & Lyle offset some of the vagaries experienced at its other operations, such as the significantly higher raw material prices for wheat and corn which particularly impacted Amylum, the group's European cereal sweetener and starch business, in the second half of 2003.
In September the company reported a full-year sales performance virtually unchanged from the year before at £3.2 billion (€4.62bn), although a good performance in the US (in local currency terms) allowed the company to lift pre-tax profits by nearly 20 per cent.
Sucralose was developed jointly by US firm McNeil Specialty Products and Tate & Lyle. The London firm became the sole manufacturer of Splenda in April this year after reaching an agreement with McNeil Nutritionals whereby the British group is responsible for worldwide sales of the Splenda brand to food and beverage makers while McNeil targets retail (tabletop) and foodservice sales.
According to a report in the Financial Times a 10 per cent stake in Tate & Lyle was placed in the stock market shortly after it was confirmed that the sugar and sweetener group would join the FTSE 100 index.
The placing by CIP, a private Luxembourg-based investment company, ends a near 30-year relationship between itself and the sugar and starch group.
Tate originally bought a stake in Amylum, CIP's European starch business, in 1976. In 2000 Tate bought CIP's interests in both Amylum, and its US starch business Staley, for £274m (€396m).