What kind of sugar to add to drinks is a changing business?

In recent years, a beverage with the selling point of “0 sugar, 0 fat, 0 calories” has become popular in China. One of its “sugar-free” secrets is the use of erythritol as a sugar substitute sweetener.

As a natural sweetener, erythritol does not participate in human blood sugar metabolism after entering the human body, and is directly discharged from the body without generating heat, which caters to the current consumers’ pursuit of healthy drinks.

In the food and beverage industry, the sugar substitute industry has been upgrading and iterating, from the initial artificially synthesized high-intensity sweeteners, such as cyclamate, aspartame, acesulfame, sucralose, etc., to the current sugar alcohols, such as Xylitol, maltitol, erythritol, etc., and some natural sweeteners, such as steviol glycosides, mogrosides, etc.

The development trend of various types of sugar substitutes is different. From the perspective of sugar replacement, the future market will mainly focus on erythritol and sucralose, and currently erythritol is mainly added to beverages.

Early aspartame and acesulfame showed a tendency to decline or slow down. According to Frost & Sullivan data, the compound growth rate of acesulfame production from 2015 to 2019 was only 9.8%, while aspartame production was declining year by year, with a compound growth rate of -14.1%.

The growth rate of sucralose, erythritol, steviol glycosides, and mogrosides have grown rapidly in recent years.



According to data from Sullivan’s research, the consumption of erythritol has shown a significant growth trend in recent years. In 2018, the growth rate of erythritol consumption reached 89.7%, and in 2019, the growth rate reached 100%. With the gradual popularization and penetration of sugar control and sugar reduction awareness around the world, the consumption of erythritol in the future still has a lot of room for improvement.



Mogroside is 10-20 times sweeter than sucrose, tastes closer to honey and sugar, and has the advantage of being calorie-free.

Currently in the US market, Mogroside has been well used in dairy products, beverages, bakery products and cereal products, and consumers have expressed good market feedback. However, Mogroside faces a cost problem, and its unit cost is still high due to the slower picking speed than other sweetener varieties.


According to industry statistics, the global market demand for sucralose is about 15,000 tons, and the market size reaches 450 million US dollars. It has a large share in the high-intensity sweetener market, and its quantity is second only to aspartame. Its demand is still growing at a rate of over 10-15% since 2010.


As a natural sweetener, stevia has played a key role in food and beverage products in recent years. From 2012 to 2017, the growth rate of stevia-containing beverage products launched worldwide was 161%, and the food category increased by 57%, of which the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 40% of all new stevia-containing food and beverage products. This growth is expected to continue in the future, with the Asia-Pacific region likely to be the largest stevia-consuming market in the world.


Allulose is not as compelling as stevia, but this does not affect its performance and development in the future.
Allulose as an ingredient is still very niche, according to Innova Market Insights. Compared with 2016, the number of new food and beverage products using this ingredient increased by +267% in 2017, but the base is very small. Interestingly, in the past four years, cereals, sugar & sweeteners were the main sources of allulose added to newly launched food and beverages globally, accounting for 36% of the new products respectively.


From the current point of view, the space for sugar in beverages is very large. When using sugar substitutes, many sugar substitutes are currently unable to achieve the effect of sucrose, so it is impossible to completely replace sucrose by sugar substitutes. In view of this problem, it is still necessary to solve it step by step.
But there is no doubt that with the continuous expansion of sugar-free beverages, the sugar substitute market will continue to enjoy the dividends brought by category expansion, and the entire sugar substitute market will continue to grow in the future.



Post time: Aug-26-2022