According to a global health and nutrition survey conducted by Euromonitor International in 2019, reducing the intake of refined sugar was the third most popular consumer action that year. The market, at the moment, is filled with different varieties of organic and synthetic sugar substitutes, so that users can enjoy the sweet taste of sugar without worrying about its associated health risks.
As such, the trend of sugar reduction stands strong in the F&B industry. But here’s the question- with the general public becoming more mindful about the dangers of excessive sugar intake, so much so that a change in their consumption pattern is being noted at a global level, is it really fair to call sugar reduction a mere trend? Is it just a fleeting fancy of the people or an emerging business that is here to stay?
Stevia- the ‘healthier’ sweetener
Sourced from the native South African herb Stevia rebaudiana, this sugar-substitute is available for consumption in the form of dried stevia leaves as well as pure stevia extract. Despite being 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, stevia has a negligible calorie-count and glycemic index, and this is the building block on which its increasing popularity rests.
The leaves of the stevia plant contain chemical compounds known as ‘Steviol glycosides’, and all the sweet taste springs from these. There has been extensive R&D on the composition and nature of these glycosides, and a specific sweetening power and after-taste has been associated with each. Stevia manufacturers develop their solutions by experimenting with different matrices of the same.
While on the subject of sugar reformulation, it must be noted that sugar contributes more than just a sweet flavour to recipes- it is also responsible for providing a unique texture, mouthfeel and consistency to the food and beverages that it is added to. Sugar also has a highly soluble nature, making it an easy-to-use ingredient. Pure stevia extract has replicated some of these additional benefits of sugar, better than other sugar substitutes, making it a cut above the rest in the market.
Thus, stevia is dominating the market as a preferred ingredient of many big names in the F&B business, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It can be safely said that stevia is more than just a trend- it is the best answer to the question of sugar reduction and reformulation. As such, an increase in the number of stevia manufacturers in the market is expected in the years to come.
Arboreal is an award-winning manufacturer and seller of superior quality stevia leaves and different categories of pure stevia extract. Besides, the expert food technologists in their squad also assist their F&B partners with customized stevia solutions for their recipes, with the benefit of client taste trials as well. For more information on their products and services, contact team Arboreal now.