A new market data report indicates that stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) use in food and beverage products is on the rise and growing rapidly. In Q2 of this year, product launches for foods and beverages containing stevia were up 13% over Q2 2016. The report, which was commissioned by stevia supplier PureCircle Ltd. (Chicago) with data from Mintel Group Ltd., also found that food and beverage product launches featuring stevia nearly doubled in Q2 2017 compared to Q2 2012. Some of the major companies launching new products featuring stevia include The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Kraft Heinz, Nestle, PepsiCo, and Unilever, says Mintel.
According to the report, the Q2 comparison between 2012 and 2017 shows a 57% increase in food and beverage product launches with stevia by 2017. On a global scale, beverage product launches with stevia increased at an even greater rate, with a 161% increase during the same five-year period. The top five growth categories for new product launches were snacks, “other beverages,” carbonated soft drinks, dairy, and juice drinks. Mintel says that the category with the highest growth rate is “sugar and gum confectionery,” which posted a 125% increase. “Sports and energy drinks” also demonstrated significant growth, with a 102% increase.
The increase in product launches featuring stevia is not limited to one region, however. According to the report, food and beverage product launches featuring stevia are occurring worldwide, “with all global regions participating.” In Q2 2017, 40% of launches were in Asia Pacific, 21% in Europe, 19% in North America, 17% in Latin America, and 3% in Middle East Africa.
Within the beverage category, carbonated soft drinks accounted for 9% of global launches of products containing stevia. In this same carbonated soft drinks category, the percentage of products featuring stevia increased 27% between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017. In addition, juice drinks featuring stevia also represented 9% of global product launches for products containing stevia, posting a 27% increase.
Stevia is making a mark even within the high-intensity sweeteners category. In 2010, just 9% of new product launches featuring high intensity sweeteners included stevia; as of August 2017, stevia was used in 27% of new products launched. In fact, as of August 2017, stevia was featured in a greater number of high-intensity sweetener products than aspartame, according to the report.