Artificial sweetener is also called low-calorie or non-nutritive sweetener since it provides the sweetness without any added calories. Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar which allows to reduce the amount of these sugar alternatives that is required to be used to give the same level of sweetness. As a result, the product in which artificial sweeteners are added are marketed as ‘health foods’ or diet products. Below is the list of the most common artificial sweeteners:
- Acesulfame potassium
Aspartame is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners as well as popular sugar alternatives. This artificial sweetener is used extensively in low-calorie food and beverages, including ‘diet’ soft drinks, desserts, in recipes which do not need much heating, and even in non-food items such as toothpaste and chewing gum.
In the United States, aspartame is available under the brand names ‘Nutrasweet’ and ‘Equal’. Aspartame has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food and drink back since 1981. Agencies in Europe, Canada, and many other countries also approve the use of this artificial sweetener. According to the 2013 study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), aspartame is safe for human consumption with an acceptable daily intake or ADI at 40 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight. The EFSA’s ADI for aspartame is 10 mg lower than the amount that the FDA considers as safe for consumption.
Growing Demand for Low-Calorie Food and Beverage Products
With rising purchasing power and living standards, people are increasingly consuming more and more convenient food and beverage products. The figure below depicts the trend in the global gross national income per capita during the period 2001-18:
Source: The World Bank Group
However, this growing consumption of food and beverage items which are high in calories can have is leading to a rise in the global prevalence of obesity and other related chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) that can have a detrimental impact on human health. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), global obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, with more than 1.9 billion adults (18 years and above) being overweight in 2016. If current trends continue, it is estimated that 2.7 billion adults will be overweight by 2025 (according to the World Obesity Federation). According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), approximately 463 million adults (23-79 years) were living with diabetes in 2019 and the figure is projected to reach 700 million by 2045. Replacing food and beverage items which are high in calories and added sugars with ones that are lower in sugar is one option to help reduce intake of excess calories which is likely to help reduce the risk of obesity and related chronic diseases.
People Getting More Health Conscious
Rising awareness among people regarding the adverse impact of consuming high calorie foods and beverages on health is also encouraging food processing companies to opt for approved artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Processed food manufacturers are adapting to this changing trend by diversifying their product portfolio and adding food and beverage items with low or zero calories. This is fuelling the global aspartame market growth. The figure below depicts the market size of aspartame market for the year 2018 and 2024:
Aspartame Market Size, US$ Million, 2018 and 2024
Source: Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence
People with diabetes are often recommended consuming food and beverage products, which have aspartame as the sweetener ingredient, as an alternative to sugar-sweetened food and beverage products. Several extensive studies and surveys show that aspartame does not raise blood sugar levels or otherwise affect blood glucose control in humans. People are nowadays getting more into fitness and weight management. Substituting foods and beverages sweetened with aspartame can play a role in weight loss or weight management, thus driving the market growth. The quantity of aspartame set by both the EFSA and the FDA are far more than most people consume in a day. For example, a can of soda contains only about 190 mg of aspartame. As such, a person would have to consume more than 19 cans of soda in a day to reach the ADI limits. This further shows the reduced consumption of sugar by a person when switches to artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
Negative Impact of COVID-19
The recent COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has caused a slight decline in the demand for aspartame across the food and beverage industry. Temporary halt in production activities due to mandatory nationwide lockdowns and social distancing measures has caused a sudden decline in the production of processed food and beverage items using aspartame. Moreover, the pandemic has disrupted the supply chain, influencing raw material and ingredients supplies to factories. However, some of this negative impact is likely to offset in the medium and long run by the increased demand for packed food and beverage products as there is less chances of transmission of coronavirus via packed items available at grocery stores.
Adopting a healthy and active lifestyle, tailored to personal goals and priorities, has become a vital component to support one’s well-being while reducing healthcare spending. As such, it is essential to choose sweetened food and beverage which are low in calories so as to control sugar intake and keep calories in check. In this way, people can enjoy eating sweetened food and beverages without a high risk of diet-related diseases.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anjali Joshi is a senior market research analyst at Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence. She oversees a team of analysts and is known for the quality of market intelligence she delivers to the clients which range from start-ups and Non-profit Organizations to Fortune 500 companies. Anjali’s keen understanding of international business and market dynamics, coupled with her years of experience working in this industry, allows her to analyse current and future trends across both global and clients’ target markets and help them in making informed decisions.