The future’s looking sweet for natural sugar alternatives

The future’s looking sweet for natural sugar alternatives

By
Laura Robinson
June 9, 2020

Sugar is everyone’s favourite dietary demon. We know that it widens our waistlines and rots our teeth. But, somehow, we can’t stop eating it. Our brains may well be hardwired to crave the sweet stuff - but might sugar alternatives finally let us have our cake and eat it too?

Consumer interest in sugar free products is growing, with internet searches up 38% year-on-year. Sugar reduction remains one of two top global trends driving new product development. And Europe boasts the highest number of food and drink launches with low or no sugar labelling.

But studies show that many restaurants and recipe developers haven’t been responding to this $21.5 billion opportunity as quickly as they could be. Menu mentions seem to be dropping and there’s a gap between supply and demand in recipes using alternative sweeteners.

So let’s see how we can swap out the white stuff while still tantalizing our tongues and figure out how food businesses can find their sweetener sweet spot.

Trend drivers: Health-conscious consumers and natural, better-for-you indulgence

There’s never been so much media coverage about how sugar is harming our health – from the obesity epidemic to rising levels of type 2 diabetes. So it’s hardly surprising that 80% of consumers say that they’re trying to limit or avoid sugars in their diet and are actively seeking alternatives that help them achieve this goal. Experts also anticipate that demand will grow further as this trend reaches consumers in developing economies.

But at the same time, consumers still crave products that give them permission to indulge, especially as the day progresses and comfort food becomes more appealing. Although research has generally found them to be safe, artificial sweeteners have fallen out of favour in many countries. So, consumers are increasingly turning to natural, clean label alternatives that let them enjoy their favourite better-for-you products, guilt-free.

The contenders: artificial and novel sweeteners and sugar alcohols

Sweeteners generally fall into two broad categories: artificial or natural. But, in practice, the line between these categories can sometimes get a little fuzzy, with some natural options being highly processed.

Artificial sweeteners – like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin – are typically chemical substances that are recognized by the sweetness receptors on our tongue. Tasting several thousand times sweeter than sugar, they provide zero or very few calories, as our bodies are unable to break them down.

Natural options include sugar alcohols - like erythritol and xylitol - found in certain fruits, and novel sweeteners - like stevia - that are derived from other natural sources. Although these options don’t tend to cause a significant spike in blood sugar or insulin levels, some have distinct aftertastes or have been known to cause stomach cramping or bloating.

When it comes to novel sweeteners, monk fruit is a relatively new kid on the block. Its sweetness comes from a unique antioxidant called mogroside that’s claimed to have anti-inflammatory and immune-system boosting properties. The fruit has already been included in formulations by a number of leading brands - from Nestlé and Pepsico to Kellogg’s and Chobani - but there’s still significant potential to expand its use in the food service sector.

Applications: Beverages, baked treats and indulgent health food

Coffee shops and juice bars were one of the first food sector actors to arrive on the alternative sweetener scene. Given the nature of beverage production, it was relatively easy for brands to experiment with alternatives and get real time customer feedback. Starting with artificial sweeteners, many companies – including Starbucks – now also offer natural alternatives, like stevia and monk fruit blends.

Health food restaurants are also using sweeteners to play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Nobu Matsuhisa – the chef behind the popular Japanese restaurant chain – decided back in 2018 to replace the refined sugar in his menus with monk fruit. This decision has become a key media talking point over the last few years, with the ingredient appearing in all types of dishes from sushi and cocktails to sorbets and custard.

Baked goods and frozen treats are two other areas that stand to benefit. Taura Natural ingredients, for example, offers a range of fruit pieces and pastes called Jus Fruit that can reduce the sugar content of cookies and cakes by 30%, while boosting fibre by 60%. Consumer tests have also shown that - unlike many other alternatives - these products have a positive effect on the taste experience. Other leading brands, like Arctic Zero and So Delicious Dairy Free, have similarly turned to alternatives when reformulating.

Plant-powered sweeteners: Fooditive and Nick’s

Back in 2017, Moayad Abushokhedim noticed that the sugar substitutes market was still dominated by unhealthy and chemically-processed choices. So, drawing on his background in food science and culinary arts, he set out to create a healthier and more sustainable alternative. Fooditive, founded in 2018, produces a 100% natural sweetener made from apples and pears that would have otherwise gone to waste. After successfully launching in Dutch supermarkets, the company now plans to expand distribution across the Netherlands and to the UK later this year. In the meantime, Moayad is cooking up some new products using fruit and vegetable waste - from preserving agents made from carrots to thickening agents made from banana skins.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, serial entrepreneur, Niclas Lutman, had a problem. He was a serious chocoholic. But he’d just been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Struggling to find alternatives for the snacks and treats he loved, he decided to create his own. After launching a line of no-added sugar confectionery in 2016, Nick’s soon became a market leader in the delicate art of sugar replacement. The company’s products are flavoured with a unique mix of plant-powered sweeteners - from stevia, erythritol and monk fruit to birch sugar and allulose, a sweetener found in figs and raisins. Their new range of sugar free ice cream proved to be a hit in the US last year. After a successful launch in Sweden in April, their light but indulgent treats are due to be rolled out across Europe in the next few months.

Some challenges remain: labelling and approvals

Even if it’s clear that consumers are demanding natural, sugar-free alternatives, some claim that current “zero sugar” labeling may be misleading. As the market continues to grow, manufacturers will need to find new ways to be transparent about the level of alternatives included in their products.

Regulatory approvals may also slow down the adoption of some novel sweeteners. The European Food Safety Authority has not yet approved the use of mogrosides – meaning that monk fruit enthusiasts may have to wait until early 2021 to experiment with this promising ingredient.

These challenges aside, it seems that natural sweeteners add another tool to manufacturers’ and the food service’s toolbox when it comes to creating healthy but indulgent offerings. And given that new, natural, plant-based ingredients tend to attract novelty-hungry millennials like bees to a honey pot, the future of sugar alternatives looks sweet.

Business opportunities

  • Run a healthy restaurant concept? Find ways of incorporating natural, novel sweeteners into your menus to help you play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Think cocktails, desserts or a touch of sweetness for your seafood dishes.
  • Riding the post COVID baking trend and offering meal or baking kits? Partner with innovative sweetener companies to introduce your customers to the latest sugar alternatives for home cooking and baking.
  • Produce your own better-for-you sweet treats or beverages? Try switching to natural novel sweeteners and featuring them as a product USP, rather than focussing on standard sugar free claims.

Written by
Laura Robinson

From policy geek to digital consultant, Laura has always enjoyed bringing people together through words or tools to drive positive change. She is most proud of finally taking the leap into entrepreneurship by founding Pink Pear Agency - a network of passionate specialists who help food businesses grow innovative projects and share their stories with the world. Laura is currently interested in project development and management, digital tools, content strategy and copywriting.

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Sugar is everyone’s favourite dietary demon. We know that it widens our waistlines and rots our teeth. But, somehow, we can’t stop eating it. Our brains may well be hardwired to crave the sweet stuff - but might sugar alternatives finally let us have our cake and eat it too?

Consumer interest in sugar free products is growing, with internet searches up 38% year-on-year. Sugar reduction remains one of two top global trends driving new product development. And Europe boasts the highest number of food and drink launches with low or no sugar labelling.

But studies show that many restaurants and recipe developers haven’t been responding to this $21.5 billion opportunity as quickly as they could be. Menu mentions seem to be dropping and there’s a gap between supply and demand in recipes using alternative sweeteners.

So let’s see how we can swap out the white stuff while still tantalizing our tongues and figure out how food businesses can find their sweetener sweet spot.

Trend drivers: Health-conscious consumers and natural, better-for-you indulgence

There’s never been so much media coverage about how sugar is harming our health – from the obesity epidemic to rising levels of type 2 diabetes. So it’s hardly surprising that 80% of consumers say that they’re trying to limit or avoid sugars in their diet and are actively seeking alternatives that help them achieve this goal. Experts also anticipate that demand will grow further as this trend reaches consumers in developing economies.

But at the same time, consumers still crave products that give them permission to indulge, especially as the day progresses and comfort food becomes more appealing. Although research has generally found them to be safe, artificial sweeteners have fallen out of favour in many countries. So, consumers are increasingly turning to natural, clean label alternatives that let them enjoy their favourite better-for-you products, guilt-free.

The contenders: artificial and novel sweeteners and sugar alcohols

Sweeteners generally fall into two broad categories: artificial or natural. But, in practice, the line between these categories can sometimes get a little fuzzy, with some natural options being highly processed.

Artificial sweeteners – like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin – are typically chemical substances that are recognized by the sweetness receptors on our tongue. Tasting several thousand times sweeter than sugar, they provide zero or very few calories, as our bodies are unable to break them down.

Natural options include sugar alcohols - like erythritol and xylitol - found in certain fruits, and novel sweeteners - like stevia - that are derived from other natural sources. Although these options don’t tend to cause a significant spike in blood sugar or insulin levels, some have distinct aftertastes or have been known to cause stomach cramping or bloating.

When it comes to novel sweeteners, monk fruit is a relatively new kid on the block. Its sweetness comes from a unique antioxidant called mogroside that’s claimed to have anti-inflammatory and immune-system boosting properties. The fruit has already been included in formulations by a number of leading brands - from Nestlé and Pepsico to Kellogg’s and Chobani - but there’s still significant potential to expand its use in the food service sector.

Applications: Beverages, baked treats and indulgent health food

Coffee shops and juice bars were one of the first food sector actors to arrive on the alternative sweetener scene. Given the nature of beverage production, it was relatively easy for brands to experiment with alternatives and get real time customer feedback. Starting with artificial sweeteners, many companies – including Starbucks – now also offer natural alternatives, like stevia and monk fruit blends.

Health food restaurants are also using sweeteners to play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Nobu Matsuhisa – the chef behind the popular Japanese restaurant chain – decided back in 2018 to replace the refined sugar in his menus with monk fruit. This decision has become a key media talking point over the last few years, with the ingredient appearing in all types of dishes from sushi and cocktails to sorbets and custard.

Baked goods and frozen treats are two other areas that stand to benefit. Taura Natural ingredients, for example, offers a range of fruit pieces and pastes called Jus Fruit that can reduce the sugar content of cookies and cakes by 30%, while boosting fibre by 60%. Consumer tests have also shown that - unlike many other alternatives - these products have a positive effect on the taste experience. Other leading brands, like Arctic Zero and So Delicious Dairy Free, have similarly turned to alternatives when reformulating.

Plant-powered sweeteners: Fooditive and Nick’s

Back in 2017, Moayad Abushokhedim noticed that the sugar substitutes market was still dominated by unhealthy and chemically-processed choices. So, drawing on his background in food science and culinary arts, he set out to create a healthier and more sustainable alternative. Fooditive, founded in 2018, produces a 100% natural sweetener made from apples and pears that would have otherwise gone to waste. After successfully launching in Dutch supermarkets, the company now plans to expand distribution across the Netherlands and to the UK later this year. In the meantime, Moayad is cooking up some new products using fruit and vegetable waste - from preserving agents made from carrots to thickening agents made from banana skins.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, serial entrepreneur, Niclas Lutman, had a problem. He was a serious chocoholic. But he’d just been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Struggling to find alternatives for the snacks and treats he loved, he decided to create his own. After launching a line of no-added sugar confectionery in 2016, Nick’s soon became a market leader in the delicate art of sugar replacement. The company’s products are flavoured with a unique mix of plant-powered sweeteners - from stevia, erythritol and monk fruit to birch sugar and allulose, a sweetener found in figs and raisins. Their new range of sugar free ice cream proved to be a hit in the US last year. After a successful launch in Sweden in April, their light but indulgent treats are due to be rolled out across Europe in the next few months.

Some challenges remain: labelling and approvals

Even if it’s clear that consumers are demanding natural, sugar-free alternatives, some claim that current “zero sugar” labeling may be misleading. As the market continues to grow, manufacturers will need to find new ways to be transparent about the level of alternatives included in their products.

Regulatory approvals may also slow down the adoption of some novel sweeteners. The European Food Safety Authority has not yet approved the use of mogrosides – meaning that monk fruit enthusiasts may have to wait until early 2021 to experiment with this promising ingredient.

These challenges aside, it seems that natural sweeteners add another tool to manufacturers’ and the food service’s toolbox when it comes to creating healthy but indulgent offerings. And given that new, natural, plant-based ingredients tend to attract novelty-hungry millennials like bees to a honey pot, the future of sugar alternatives looks sweet.

Business opportunities

  • Run a healthy restaurant concept? Find ways of incorporating natural, novel sweeteners into your menus to help you play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Think cocktails, desserts or a touch of sweetness for your seafood dishes.
  • Riding the post COVID baking trend and offering meal or baking kits? Partner with innovative sweetener companies to introduce your customers to the latest sugar alternatives for home cooking and baking.
  • Produce your own better-for-you sweet treats or beverages? Try switching to natural novel sweeteners and featuring them as a product USP, rather than focussing on standard sugar free claims.

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Sugar is everyone’s favourite dietary demon. We know that it widens our waistlines and rots our teeth. But, somehow, we can’t stop eating it. Our brains may well be hardwired to crave the sweet stuff - but might sugar alternatives finally let us have our cake and eat it too?

Consumer interest in sugar free products is growing, with internet searches up 38% year-on-year. Sugar reduction remains one of two top global trends driving new product development. And Europe boasts the highest number of food and drink launches with low or no sugar labelling.

But studies show that many restaurants and recipe developers haven’t been responding to this $21.5 billion opportunity as quickly as they could be. Menu mentions seem to be dropping and there’s a gap between supply and demand in recipes using alternative sweeteners.

So let’s see how we can swap out the white stuff while still tantalizing our tongues and figure out how food businesses can find their sweetener sweet spot.

Trend drivers: Health-conscious consumers and natural, better-for-you indulgence

There’s never been so much media coverage about how sugar is harming our health – from the obesity epidemic to rising levels of type 2 diabetes. So it’s hardly surprising that 80% of consumers say that they’re trying to limit or avoid sugars in their diet and are actively seeking alternatives that help them achieve this goal. Experts also anticipate that demand will grow further as this trend reaches consumers in developing economies.

But at the same time, consumers still crave products that give them permission to indulge, especially as the day progresses and comfort food becomes more appealing. Although research has generally found them to be safe, artificial sweeteners have fallen out of favour in many countries. So, consumers are increasingly turning to natural, clean label alternatives that let them enjoy their favourite better-for-you products, guilt-free.

The contenders: artificial and novel sweeteners and sugar alcohols

Sweeteners generally fall into two broad categories: artificial or natural. But, in practice, the line between these categories can sometimes get a little fuzzy, with some natural options being highly processed.

Artificial sweeteners – like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin – are typically chemical substances that are recognized by the sweetness receptors on our tongue. Tasting several thousand times sweeter than sugar, they provide zero or very few calories, as our bodies are unable to break them down.

Natural options include sugar alcohols - like erythritol and xylitol - found in certain fruits, and novel sweeteners - like stevia - that are derived from other natural sources. Although these options don’t tend to cause a significant spike in blood sugar or insulin levels, some have distinct aftertastes or have been known to cause stomach cramping or bloating.

When it comes to novel sweeteners, monk fruit is a relatively new kid on the block. Its sweetness comes from a unique antioxidant called mogroside that’s claimed to have anti-inflammatory and immune-system boosting properties. The fruit has already been included in formulations by a number of leading brands - from Nestlé and Pepsico to Kellogg’s and Chobani - but there’s still significant potential to expand its use in the food service sector.

Applications: Beverages, baked treats and indulgent health food

Coffee shops and juice bars were one of the first food sector actors to arrive on the alternative sweetener scene. Given the nature of beverage production, it was relatively easy for brands to experiment with alternatives and get real time customer feedback. Starting with artificial sweeteners, many companies – including Starbucks – now also offer natural alternatives, like stevia and monk fruit blends.

Health food restaurants are also using sweeteners to play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Nobu Matsuhisa – the chef behind the popular Japanese restaurant chain – decided back in 2018 to replace the refined sugar in his menus with monk fruit. This decision has become a key media talking point over the last few years, with the ingredient appearing in all types of dishes from sushi and cocktails to sorbets and custard.

Baked goods and frozen treats are two other areas that stand to benefit. Taura Natural ingredients, for example, offers a range of fruit pieces and pastes called Jus Fruit that can reduce the sugar content of cookies and cakes by 30%, while boosting fibre by 60%. Consumer tests have also shown that - unlike many other alternatives - these products have a positive effect on the taste experience. Other leading brands, like Arctic Zero and So Delicious Dairy Free, have similarly turned to alternatives when reformulating.

Plant-powered sweeteners: Fooditive and Nick’s

Back in 2017, Moayad Abushokhedim noticed that the sugar substitutes market was still dominated by unhealthy and chemically-processed choices. So, drawing on his background in food science and culinary arts, he set out to create a healthier and more sustainable alternative. Fooditive, founded in 2018, produces a 100% natural sweetener made from apples and pears that would have otherwise gone to waste. After successfully launching in Dutch supermarkets, the company now plans to expand distribution across the Netherlands and to the UK later this year. In the meantime, Moayad is cooking up some new products using fruit and vegetable waste - from preserving agents made from carrots to thickening agents made from banana skins.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, serial entrepreneur, Niclas Lutman, had a problem. He was a serious chocoholic. But he’d just been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Struggling to find alternatives for the snacks and treats he loved, he decided to create his own. After launching a line of no-added sugar confectionery in 2016, Nick’s soon became a market leader in the delicate art of sugar replacement. The company’s products are flavoured with a unique mix of plant-powered sweeteners - from stevia, erythritol and monk fruit to birch sugar and allulose, a sweetener found in figs and raisins. Their new range of sugar free ice cream proved to be a hit in the US last year. After a successful launch in Sweden in April, their light but indulgent treats are due to be rolled out across Europe in the next few months.

Some challenges remain: labelling and approvals

Even if it’s clear that consumers are demanding natural, sugar-free alternatives, some claim that current “zero sugar” labeling may be misleading. As the market continues to grow, manufacturers will need to find new ways to be transparent about the level of alternatives included in their products.

Regulatory approvals may also slow down the adoption of some novel sweeteners. The European Food Safety Authority has not yet approved the use of mogrosides – meaning that monk fruit enthusiasts may have to wait until early 2021 to experiment with this promising ingredient.

These challenges aside, it seems that natural sweeteners add another tool to manufacturers’ and the food service’s toolbox when it comes to creating healthy but indulgent offerings. And given that new, natural, plant-based ingredients tend to attract novelty-hungry millennials like bees to a honey pot, the future of sugar alternatives looks sweet.

Business opportunities

  • Run a healthy restaurant concept? Find ways of incorporating natural, novel sweeteners into your menus to help you play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Think cocktails, desserts or a touch of sweetness for your seafood dishes.
  • Riding the post COVID baking trend and offering meal or baking kits? Partner with innovative sweetener companies to introduce your customers to the latest sugar alternatives for home cooking and baking.
  • Produce your own better-for-you sweet treats or beverages? Try switching to natural novel sweeteners and featuring them as a product USP, rather than focussing on standard sugar free claims.

Sugar is everyone’s favourite dietary demon. We know that it widens our waistlines and rots our teeth. But, somehow, we can’t stop eating it. Our brains may well be hardwired to crave the sweet stuff - but might sugar alternatives finally let us have our cake and eat it too?

Consumer interest in sugar free products is growing, with internet searches up 38% year-on-year. Sugar reduction remains one of two top global trends driving new product development. And Europe boasts the highest number of food and drink launches with low or no sugar labelling.

But studies show that many restaurants and recipe developers haven’t been responding to this $21.5 billion opportunity as quickly as they could be. Menu mentions seem to be dropping and there’s a gap between supply and demand in recipes using alternative sweeteners.

So let’s see how we can swap out the white stuff while still tantalizing our tongues and figure out how food businesses can find their sweetener sweet spot.

Trend drivers: Health-conscious consumers and natural, better-for-you indulgence

There’s never been so much media coverage about how sugar is harming our health – from the obesity epidemic to rising levels of type 2 diabetes. So it’s hardly surprising that 80% of consumers say that they’re trying to limit or avoid sugars in their diet and are actively seeking alternatives that help them achieve this goal. Experts also anticipate that demand will grow further as this trend reaches consumers in developing economies.

But at the same time, consumers still crave products that give them permission to indulge, especially as the day progresses and comfort food becomes more appealing. Although research has generally found them to be safe, artificial sweeteners have fallen out of favour in many countries. So, consumers are increasingly turning to natural, clean label alternatives that let them enjoy their favourite better-for-you products, guilt-free.

The contenders: artificial and novel sweeteners and sugar alcohols

Sweeteners generally fall into two broad categories: artificial or natural. But, in practice, the line between these categories can sometimes get a little fuzzy, with some natural options being highly processed.

Artificial sweeteners – like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin – are typically chemical substances that are recognized by the sweetness receptors on our tongue. Tasting several thousand times sweeter than sugar, they provide zero or very few calories, as our bodies are unable to break them down.

Natural options include sugar alcohols - like erythritol and xylitol - found in certain fruits, and novel sweeteners - like stevia - that are derived from other natural sources. Although these options don’t tend to cause a significant spike in blood sugar or insulin levels, some have distinct aftertastes or have been known to cause stomach cramping or bloating.

When it comes to novel sweeteners, monk fruit is a relatively new kid on the block. Its sweetness comes from a unique antioxidant called mogroside that’s claimed to have anti-inflammatory and immune-system boosting properties. The fruit has already been included in formulations by a number of leading brands - from Nestlé and Pepsico to Kellogg’s and Chobani - but there’s still significant potential to expand its use in the food service sector.

Applications: Beverages, baked treats and indulgent health food

Coffee shops and juice bars were one of the first food sector actors to arrive on the alternative sweetener scene. Given the nature of beverage production, it was relatively easy for brands to experiment with alternatives and get real time customer feedback. Starting with artificial sweeteners, many companies – including Starbucks – now also offer natural alternatives, like stevia and monk fruit blends.

Health food restaurants are also using sweeteners to play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Nobu Matsuhisa – the chef behind the popular Japanese restaurant chain – decided back in 2018 to replace the refined sugar in his menus with monk fruit. This decision has become a key media talking point over the last few years, with the ingredient appearing in all types of dishes from sushi and cocktails to sorbets and custard.

Baked goods and frozen treats are two other areas that stand to benefit. Taura Natural ingredients, for example, offers a range of fruit pieces and pastes called Jus Fruit that can reduce the sugar content of cookies and cakes by 30%, while boosting fibre by 60%. Consumer tests have also shown that - unlike many other alternatives - these products have a positive effect on the taste experience. Other leading brands, like Arctic Zero and So Delicious Dairy Free, have similarly turned to alternatives when reformulating.

Plant-powered sweeteners: Fooditive and Nick’s

Back in 2017, Moayad Abushokhedim noticed that the sugar substitutes market was still dominated by unhealthy and chemically-processed choices. So, drawing on his background in food science and culinary arts, he set out to create a healthier and more sustainable alternative. Fooditive, founded in 2018, produces a 100% natural sweetener made from apples and pears that would have otherwise gone to waste. After successfully launching in Dutch supermarkets, the company now plans to expand distribution across the Netherlands and to the UK later this year. In the meantime, Moayad is cooking up some new products using fruit and vegetable waste - from preserving agents made from carrots to thickening agents made from banana skins.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, serial entrepreneur, Niclas Lutman, had a problem. He was a serious chocoholic. But he’d just been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Struggling to find alternatives for the snacks and treats he loved, he decided to create his own. After launching a line of no-added sugar confectionery in 2016, Nick’s soon became a market leader in the delicate art of sugar replacement. The company’s products are flavoured with a unique mix of plant-powered sweeteners - from stevia, erythritol and monk fruit to birch sugar and allulose, a sweetener found in figs and raisins. Their new range of sugar free ice cream proved to be a hit in the US last year. After a successful launch in Sweden in April, their light but indulgent treats are due to be rolled out across Europe in the next few months.

Some challenges remain: labelling and approvals

Even if it’s clear that consumers are demanding natural, sugar-free alternatives, some claim that current “zero sugar” labeling may be misleading. As the market continues to grow, manufacturers will need to find new ways to be transparent about the level of alternatives included in their products.

Regulatory approvals may also slow down the adoption of some novel sweeteners. The European Food Safety Authority has not yet approved the use of mogrosides – meaning that monk fruit enthusiasts may have to wait until early 2021 to experiment with this promising ingredient.

These challenges aside, it seems that natural sweeteners add another tool to manufacturers’ and the food service’s toolbox when it comes to creating healthy but indulgent offerings. And given that new, natural, plant-based ingredients tend to attract novelty-hungry millennials like bees to a honey pot, the future of sugar alternatives looks sweet.

Business opportunities

  • Run a healthy restaurant concept? Find ways of incorporating natural, novel sweeteners into your menus to help you play into the better-for-you indulgence trend. Think cocktails, desserts or a touch of sweetness for your seafood dishes.
  • Riding the post COVID baking trend and offering meal or baking kits? Partner with innovative sweetener companies to introduce your customers to the latest sugar alternatives for home cooking and baking.
  • Produce your own better-for-you sweet treats or beverages? Try switching to natural novel sweeteners and featuring them as a product USP, rather than focussing on standard sugar free claims.

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