Sweeteners showing double-digit growth on rising consumer appeal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sugar, Cent, Mintel

Strong growth and opportunities for sweetener use in food
formulations is assured with fresh figures from the UK finding
health concerns are driving nearly one in four consumers to use
sugar replacers, reports Lindsey Partos.

Parallel to a 10 per cent fall in sugar sales, over the past five years the market for artificial sweeteners rose by 12 per cent.

And with new products rolled out onto the market increasingly targeting health positioned foods, the fiercely competitive sweetener industry is well positioned for ongoing growth.

"Manufacturers have dynamised this sector with a raft of new product developments, while investing heavily in improving the taste of their product: the artificial sweetener market continues to gain acceptance with consumers "​ says David Bird, an analyst at Mintel.

Opportunities will lie, in particular, at products targeting women, and consumers heading into early retirement with figures from the Mintel report showing that currently one in four women, nearly a third of consumers aged between 55 and 64, are now using sweeteners.

Despite the double-digit fall in sugar consumption, major players such as Tate & Lyle have still made gains on the back of 'value-added' products. Value sales increased by 12 per cent between 1999 and 2004 to reach €380 million, reports Mintel.

"This increase in market value, despite the fall in volume, is a reflection of consumers trading up to higher value, more specialist, premium products,"​ claims Mintel.

Formulators may want to spend time rejuvenating the dessert market, with the report showing the biggest decline in sugar usage has taken place in dessert making, with just a fifth (21 per cent) of consumers adding sugar to desserts, such as custard and puddings, compared to almost a third (32 per cent) in 2000.

Use of sugar in home baking, such as cake- and biscuit-making, has also fallen, with just one in three (33 per cent) adults doing so.

Health concerns have also driven a major decline in the use of sugar to sweeten breakfast cereal, falling from over four in ten (42 per cent) in 2000 to just a third (33 per cent) in 2004.

According to figures from Mintel, organic sugar "has failed to deliver against expectation".

While dairy and meat organic segments soar, consumer response to the offer of organic sugars has generally been flat. Holding a position at the premium end of the market, organic, has in general not performed as well as, for example, Fairtrade sugars which continue to gainpopularity.

"This goes against two main trends in Britain's food market today: while other premium sugars are fairing well, organic sugar, which is also priced as a premium product, has not performed nearly as well. This also goes against the growing demand for organic food in general,"​ said Bird.

Related topics: Ingredients

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