The Malaysian company PureCircle has reported that the use of stevia leaf sweetener in food products and beverages continues to expand. Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener made from a plant, while other major zero-calorie or high-intensity sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium) are not.
Global launches of beverage and food products containing stevia have grown steadily since 2012, and in 2017 alone, increased more than +10 % vs. 2016, the company notes, citing data from Mintel. Launches of beverage products containing stevia grew 11 % from 2016 to 2017, while launches of food products containing stevia grew 10 % from 2016 to 2017. Top categories for launches containing stevia in 2017 included snacks, juice drinks, dairy, carbonated soft drinks and confectionery.
The usage of stevia leaf sweeteners has grown dramatically, PureCircle points out. In 2012, stevia was used in 16 % of food and beverage products launched with high intensity or diet sweeteners. By 2017, that number had risen to 28 %. Aspartame, however, is becoming less widely used. In 2012, aspartame was used in 36 % of new foods and beverages utilizing high intensity sweeteners. By 2017, that number was down to 25 %. This means, looking at foods and beverages launched with high intensity sweeteners in 2017, plant-based stevia was used more than aspartame.