Growth opportunities and latent adjacency in stevia market

Growing awareness of diseases such as diabetes and obesity among the consumers stimulating the Asia Pacific stevia market to cross USD 400 million by 2025

The Asia Pacific stevia market is projected to grow from USD 198.1 million in 2018 to USD 437.0 million by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.0% during the forecast period. According to the PureCircle (Malaysia) news release in May 2019, the top two regions reporting the maximum launches of food and beverage products with stevia were Asia/Pacific (42%) and Europe (21%), followed by Latin America, North America, and the Middle East/Africa. The Japanese stevia market is the dominant market in the Asia Pacific region, accounting for the largest share. It is a relatively matured market with increased penetration levels of stevia in the sweetener industry. Morita Kagaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. (Japan) has been one of the pioneers in the stevia sweetener industry; it has been catering to the demands of Japanese customers by developing the world’s first ultimate stevia sweetener with no bitterness.

The increase in awareness among people about diabetes and obesity in the Asia Pacific region drives the preference for natural sweeteners such as stevia over artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. Natural sweeteners have gained more ground because of their natural origin and the simple extraction process involved. Food manufacturers are focusing on using stevia for different applications. Some of the major manufacturers of stevia operating in the Asia Pacific region are PureCircle Ltd (Malaysia) and Sunwin Stevia International, and Inc (China).

The beverages segment, by application, is projected to account for the largest market share during the forecast period.

The stevia market has been segmented, on the basis of application, into dairy, bakery & confectionery, tabletop sweeteners, beverages, convenience foods, and other applications (include dietary supplements and sauces & dressings). The beverages segment is projected to be the largest segment in the Asia Pacific stevia market.  Stevia, as an alternative sweetener, is becoming essential in beverages, as it is low in calories and contains less than five grams of carbohydrate (as per an article on “Medical News Today”). Stevia is one of the most common natural sweeteners used for zero or low-calorie beverages. The usage of stevia is more in diet carbonated drinks, flavored water, soft drinks, fruit juices, ready-to-drink beverages, and sports & energy drinks. Zevia, Sprite, Sobe Life Water, Hartwall, Del Monte, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola are some of the common brands that use stevia as a sweetener in their products.

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Whole leaf is projected to be the fastest-growing extract type in the stevia market during the forecast period.

Among all stevia types, green leaf stevia is the least processed and is one of the most natural forms of stevia. A stevia leaf consists of sweet-tasting compounds known as steviol glycosides. Among these compounds, the sweetest and palatable compounds are stevioside and rebaudioside A. Fresh stevia leaves are not used widely due to their bitter taste and lack of potency. Hence, to achieve more flavor and sweetness, these leaves are dried and crushed. In the past few years, stevia leaves have emerged as a popular alternative to sugar and other sweeteners with high calorific value.

New product launches & developments was the major business strategy adopted by the key players in the stevia market.

The key players in the stevia market include Cargill (US), Ingredion Incorporated (US), Tate & Lyle Plc (UK), PureCircle Ltd (Malaysia), GLG Life Tech Corporation (Canada), Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredients (Germany), Sunwin Stevia International, Inc. (China), S&W Seed Co (US), Pyure Brands LLC (US), Morita Kagakau Kogyo Co., Ltd. (Japan), Zhucheng Haotinan, Pharm Co., Ltd (China), and Evolva Holdings SA (Switzerland). The market players adopted new product launches & developments as their main strategy to expand in this market. Besides this, expansions, acquisitions, agreements, collaborations, and partnerships are some of the other strategies adopted by these players in the last few years, to meet the growing demand for stevia.

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Recent Developments

  • In March 2019, PureCircle (Malaysia) announced its approval for the expanded use and applications of its next-generation stevia leaf sweetener “Reb M” in Singapore. This product would enable the food and beverage companies in Singapore to use this ingredient in zero- and low-calorie products.
  • In March 2018, Cargill (US) launched EverSweet fermented steviol glycosides. It is a zero-calorie, next-generation sweetener made with two of the best-tasting sweet compounds found in the stevia leaf, Reb M and Reb D.