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The company estimates that worldwide stevia sales reached 3500 metric tons last year, a 27% increase over 2009.
Stevia has experienced a “meteoric” global rise in popularity, says food and drink consultancy Zenith International in a new report. The company estimates that worldwide stevia sales reached 3500 metric tons last year, a 27% increase over 2009. The category’s market value is now $285 million.
“After persistent efforts by key producers, legislators worldwide are finally giving the green light to this new zero-calorie sweetener,” noted Zenith senior market analyst Anya Hembrough.
Zenith says that stevia’s “turning point” came in 2008, when steviol glycosides, the sweetening components of the stevia leaf, were deemed safe-in particular, steviol glycoside rebaudioside A, which was declared Generally Recognized as Safe in the United States. “Since then, approval by legislators across the world has opened the door to new formulations and reformulations of foods and beverages with zero or reduced calorie content,” says Zenith. “Its status as a global ingredient was secured with its incorporation into leading soft drinks brands manufactured by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.”
Zenith anticipates future growth for stevia, with approval still pending in a number of regions. European authorization is anticipated for later in 2011. Zenith forecasts the global market to reach 11,000 metric tons by 2014, equivalent to $825 million.