Stevia is not just another E-number, says Euromonitor

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Stevia has innovation on its side, says Euromonitor
Stevia has innovation on its side, says Euromonitor

Related tags Stevia Euromonitor

Stevia’s credentials as a plant-derived sweetener and uptake from large manufacturers will prevent it from being seen as just another E-number, according to market research organisation Euromonitor.

Writing on Euromonitor’s analyst insight blog​, ingredients analyst Lauren Bandy says that E960 – otherwise known as stevia extract or steviol glycosides – is unlikely to be held back by restrictions on calling it natural in Europe. The market researcher says that the European market overtook China to become the third largest global market for stevia in 2012, after Japan and the United States.

“Stevia, despite being another E-number, has innovation on its side,”​ she says.

While most new product introductions containing stevia have been in the beverage sector, dairy accounted for about 10% of new stevia launches in Europe last year, according to Euromonitor statistics. The organisation expects that proportion to double by 2016 as larger companies, including Arla and Danone, start using the ingredient.

“We believe the additional consumer marketing muscle of these types of players will establish stevia’s status over the longer term,” ​wrote Bandy.

Unlike in the United States, food and beverage makers are not able to label stevia as natural on product packaging, and some have suggested that this could restrict consumer acceptance of the sweetener, or hold back product development. However, Euromonitor says growth rates for use of stevia are ten times higher than those for other high intensity sweeteners, even though usage remains relatively low in absolute terms.

“Although it cannot be labelled as natural, stevia’s plant-sourced credentials are still something that manufacturers are interested in and consumers will want to believe in,” ​Bandy said.

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Stevia not "adulterated"

Posted by Maja,

One has to be cautious when talking about adulteration itself: steviol glycosides are cca. 300 times more sweet than sugar, so if the sweetener is not in form of a "tablet" it has to be carried by another ingredient, like maltodextrin, dextrose etc. so that the consumer can properly dose the amount of sweetener... If the product is labelled correctly I do not see the reason it could be connected with adulteration.

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Posted by Mchael,

Be very cautious and read the list of ingredients before you buy a product saying 100% STEVIA. The first ingredient might be dextrose or a form of sugar which is much less expensive than Stevia. The Stevia product might also contain maltodextrin, a filler derived from GMO corn. Try to find brands that provide 100% Stevia with no additional ingredients rather than be deceived by adulterated products.

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