Mid-calorie concept goes mainstream – and beyond drinks


- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Stevia sweeteners Stevia

Stevia-derived sweeteners have been used in a wide range of mid-calorie products - and the sector is expanding
Stevia-derived sweeteners have been used in a wide range of mid-calorie products - and the sector is expanding
Consumers and industry have embraced the mid-calorie concept in drinks and are starting to look at its relevance in other product categories, according to stevia supplier PureCircle.

Recent launches in the mid-calorie drinks space include all the soft drink big guns: Coca-Cola Life, Pepsi True and Dr Pepper’s TEN, all of which have at least a 30% calorie reduction but still contain some sugar. In addition, Sprite – firmly in the mainstream, and not positioned as mid-calorie per se – has been reformulated for the European market with stevia-derived sweeteners and 30% fewer calories.

“We are seeing a movement overall to more moderate solutions,”​ said Faith Son, vice president of global marketing and innovation at PureCircle, speaking with FoodNavigator at IFT last week.

The company introduced a stevia sweetener blend in December last year for dairy​ products, dubbed Sigma-D, intended as a drop-in (but still customisable) sweetening system for dairy drinks and other non-fermented dairy products, and the company says consumers are prepared to consider overall calories, rather than calories specifically from sugar or from fat.

At IFT in Chicago, PureCircle introduced a similar concept for iced tea, called Sigma-T, intended for sweetening mid-calorie tea drinks with about a 40-50% calorie reduction compared to regular iced tea.

“Where we feel like we have something to bring to the market that’s significantly better, that’s where we are introducing products,”​ Son said. “...Because there’s such large variation, we are leaving room for further customisation.”

Although much of the innovation in mid-calorie concepts has been drinks-focused, Sigma-D marked a move toward other categories, and PureCircle has also seen a growing number of mid-calorie introductions with stevia sweeteners in sauces and ketchups, among others.

“Consumers are on a real journey,”​ said Son. “Everyone has more health and wellness concerns than they did a generation ago and they realise there are no silver bullet answers.”

Therefore, they are more open than ever to the idea of gradual reductions in calories, including in favourite products.

“People realise it’s more about small steps over time in a way that’s really sustainable,”​ she said.

Referring to PureCircle’s own market research, she added that consumer awareness of stevia was growing globally, but there was still huge variation. In Chile, for example, 92% of consumers have heard of stevia, but in Southeast Asia, awareness was still at about 20%.

However, the company had found that sentiment about stevia sweeteners was overwhelmingly – and increasingly – positive.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

How regenerative farming advances climate goals

How regenerative farming advances climate goals

Content provided by ADM: Innovation that Feeds the Future | 08-Jul-2024 | Product Brochure

As brands look to meet new climate goals, we're here to help you with regenerative agriculture programs.

Download Sweet Trends Report 2024 by Südzucker

Download Sweet Trends Report 2024 by Südzucker

Content provided by Südzucker AG | 01-Jul-2024 | White Paper

For the fourth time, Südzucker has conducted a research study on consumer needs and purchase drivers in processed food & drinks, which will be another...

Turn up the heat on your culinary creations

Turn up the heat on your culinary creations

Content provided by Givaudan | 17-Jun-2024 | Application Note

From fiery reds, oranges, and yellows to succulent browns and charred blacks, natural colours can bring the ‘heat’ to your culinary creations. Our Culinary...

The B2B Marketing Benchmark – Food & Nutrition

The B2B Marketing Benchmark – Food & Nutrition

Content provided by Barrett Dixon Bell (BDB) | 12-Jun-2024 | Insight Guide

Download the first-ever B2B Marketing Benchmark to provide a relevant overview of the Food & Nutrition ingredients marketing communications; delving...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more