The number of food and beverage launches containing stevia rose 13% in the second quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2016 – that’s according to data from Mintel, commissioned by stevia producer PureCircle.
Coca-Cola, Danone, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé and PepsiCo have all released new products sweetened with the natural ingredient.
The number of new food and drink products containing stevia has nearly doubled since 2012, Mintel said.
Looking at the different beverage and food categories, carbonated soft drinks accounted for 9% of global launches last quarter. Within the carbonated soft drink category, the percentage of products launched with stevia increased 27% between the second quarter of 2016 and 2017.
Juice drinks accounted for 9% of those launches, also increasing by 27%.
The five top categories in terms of new product launches with stevia in the second quarter were snacks, other beverages, carbonated soft drinks, dairy, and juice drinks. Among the categories posting the highest growth rates were sugar and gum confectionery with a 125% increase and sports and energy drinks with a 102% increase.
Growth was driven by strong performance in Asia-Pacific, where the number of launches was up 40%. Europe recorded 21% growth, followed by North America on 19% and Latin America on 17%. The number of launches has increased at a slower pace in the Middle East and Africa – at 3% – though the figure represents the continued penetration of stevia, which is billed as a healthier alternative to sugar.
The new beverage and food product launches with stevia are occurring worldwide with all global regions participating. Of the total new food and beverage products launched with stevia in the second quarter of 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.
Mintel research also indicates that use of ‘natural origin’ sweeteners is sharply on the rise, with stevia now outperforming aspartame as a food and drink sweetener.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018