Just a few years ago, it seemed like we were living in the golden age of calorie free-sweeteners. We had Sweet and Low, Equal, Splenda and Truvia. The brand names were all different chemical sweeteners: saccharin, aspartame, sucralose and stevia, respectively. Many of us didn’t know which chemical aligned with what brand but most of us had them mentally ranked for preference.
Those of us watching our sugar intake had an unprecedented number of options. For people with cholesterol concerns, sugar intake is something to watch. As the alternative sugar market continues to grow, we are gaining access to a vast array of options! For both calorie-free and low-calorie options, the market grows every day — neotame, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, acesulfame-potassium, monk fruit extracts and more. While many of these have been around for years, they weren’t available in stores. With concerns about carb-heavy diets, these sweeteners have started appearing on supermarket shelves for an assortment of reasons, including baking purposes.
Moreover, food and beverage companies are looking for new ways to sweeten products to attract customers. The sweeteners have differing flavors, which is why Coca-Cola introduced both Coke Zero and Diet Coke with Splenda in 2005. They were marketed on the basis of not tasting like Diet Coke.
As with so many trends, people uninterested in the root-cause are still thrilled with the result. Just because you aren’t doing keto, doesn’t mean you can’t swap out your current sweetener for a newly available one you prefer!
The substitute sweetener market is growing at a rapid pace. People avoiding carbs reach for new products. In turn, the demand heightens both availability and awareness. The awareness doubles back and, again, raises the demand. The demand starts to slack, and companies introduce new products to reignite interest. Then the process begins again. This is why the market is set to grow from $14.94 billion in 2018 to $21.54 billion by 2026. We hope that the profits of this growth are reinvested in more product development as well as safety studies. We always want to know about the health factors of our food!