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Natural Sugar Substitutes

<p>Driven by consumer demand, natural sweeteners such as stevia and coconut palm sugar are slowly replacing old standbys such as high-fructose corn syrup and traditional artificial sweeteners.</p>

These days, artificial sweeteners don’t taste so sweet. From omega-3 supplements to  natural sodas,  alternative sweeteners are growing in acceptance, use and success.

The sweetener market is nothing to scoff at—the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated totals to be north of USD $58 billion in 2010. Alternative sweeteners make up a small—but substantial—sliver of the sweetener pie. According to market research firm The Freedonia Group, the U.S. alternative sweetener segment recorded USD $1.2 billion in sales; the company predicted 3.3-percent growth through 2015 in its “Alternative Sweeteners to 2015" report.

“Gains will be led by relatively new entrants such as the stevia extract reb-A," the report noted. “The more mature products—high-intensity sweeteners (such as aspartame) and polyols (including sorbitol)—will see more restrained, though still healthy, growth."

From nutrient value to cost, countless factors go into an alternative sweetener’s success. But industry experts agree: taste is king.

“The market is currently seeking a turnkey solution for reducing sugar naturally in a way that tastes good. In the real world, that concept does not exist across applications," stated Alyssa Turner, product specialist, Ingredion Incorporated. “However, through creating a customized sweetness and texture combination based upon a data-drive and market-focused approach, sugar can be reduced in a natural, effective way."

Learn more about potential sweetener solutions, such as stevia, coconut palm sugar and sucromalt, in the article, “Sweet Selections" in INSIDER’s Functional Food Content Library.

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