Consumers Seek a Natural Alternative to Sugar that Provides Sweet Taste with Fewer Calories

 San Antonio, TX. A sweetener is a food additive which is able to simulate the sweetness of sugar and which usually provide less energy. Sweeteners can be grouped according to their calorie content (caloric or non-caloric) and their source (natural or artificial).  The use of non-caloric sweeteners, as a substitute for the whole or part of the sugar content in food and drink, has experienced its biggest growth over the past 35 years.

According to the article A current and global review of sweeteners; regulatory aspects, 77% of the calories consumed in USA, from 2005 until 2009, contain caloric sweeteners; however, there is a trend toward consuming non- caloric sweeteners. Survey data confirms that non-caloric sweeteners are being used with a view to reducing the total caloric intake, promote weight loss and/or prevent tooth decay.

However consumers are also concerned about the risk associated with their use, such as ‘artificial or natural’ elements and whether they pose a risk to health. According to the Global Stevia Institute (GSI) a natural food means that it has no additives, chemicals or artificial ingredients, no added preservatives, not processed, and that it comes from nature and grown with no pesticides, chemicals or hormones. According to a survey performed by the company PureCircle, among the costumers in a renowned café, 61% of the surveyed consumers wish there were more natural sugar substitutes, and products made with natural ingredients is the number two purchase consideration. According to PureCircle, from 2010 to 2015, the preference for natural-origin sweeteners among consumers have increased from 46% to 87%.

One of the natural-origin sweeteners that has been authorized in several countries is steviaextract, obtained from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudianaStevia extract is an alternative, zero calorie sweetener of natural origin that has been used for centuries by the Guaraní people from South America, to sweeten their traditional drink called yerba mate, as well as teas and medicine.

Now, it is being used as sweetener in food and beverages around the world. The steviol glycosides are the sweet components of the stevia extract and are up to 350 times sweeter than sugar.

According to the GSI, all steviol glycosides are low in calories because they are poorly absorbed in the body. They pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract fully intact and are excreted in the urine.

Accoding to the PureCircle survey, stevia extract is tied as #1 sugar substitute purchased by consumers to help reduce total calorie and sugar intake.

Sources:

PureCircle: Starbucks & Stevia Opportunity PPTX

The Global Stevia Institute http://globalsteviainstitute.com

García Almeida, J.M. Gracia M.ª Casado Fdez. and J. García Alemán: A current and global review of sweeteners; regulatory aspects. Nutrición Hospitalaria, 2013.

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SVETIA® Calorie – Free Sweetener is made with cane sugar and stevia extract. One packet of SVETIA® contains only one gram of carbohydrates. People with diabetes are advised to check with their registered dietitian or physician.

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