The use of stevia leaf sweetener in food and beverage products grew at an accelerate pace last year, according to stevia producer PureCircle.
In 2018, the number of new products using stevia grew +31%, compared to an +11% increase in 2017, data from Mintel reveals.
In looking separately at beverage and food launches with stevia last year, the increase was +36% for beverages and +27% for foods.
The 2018 data continues to showcase stevia’s increased adoption as an important ingredient for beverage and food companies.
In a number of categories, where high intensity sweeteners are used, stevia is now the leader; these categories include plant-based drinks; dairy-based ice cream and frozen yogurt; ready-to-drink iced tea; and dressings and vinegars.
Stevia also has a high use incidence in carbonated soft drinks; and meal replacements and other drinks.
Consistent with the growth of stevia use in product launches, the increase relative to other zero-calorie sweeteners has also been dramatic.
In 2011, stevia was used in 10% of all food and beverage products launched with high-intensity sweeteners, whereas aspartame was found in 36%.
In 2018, stevia usage nearly tripled to 29% compared to aspartame which fell to just 20%. With stevia, food and beverage companies have access to a non-GMO, zero-calorie sweetener from a plant which delivers on taste.