Between increasing consumer interest in healthy diets and local taxes causing price hikes, things have been looking pretty sour for sugar. We did a deep dive into sugar and alternative sweeteners to find out what the future might hold for these tasty treats.
Alternatives are all the rage
While sugar still commands the highest market share of all the sweeteners we studied, erythritol, monk fruit, and xylitol all outpace sugar in terms of year-over-year growth.
Consumers crave sugar substitutes like xylitol, erythritol, and monk fruit.
Don’t be fooled by hot take headlines: Sugar is still a major player in the sweetener game. But consumers’ appetite for alternatives such as erythritol, xylitol, and monk fruit suggest that they’re open to new food and beverage formulations.
The truly bad news is for traditional alternatives like honey, maple syrup, and agave, all of which have declined in consumer mentions over the last year. It’s probably too soon to count them out, but if this trend continues it’s certainly cause for concern.
HEALTH IS A TRENDING TOPIC
Why are alternative sweeteners getting so much attention? It's all about context. Consumer conversations about health-related topics rose dramatically in 2018. With both general health and sugar-specific concerns seeing significant growth, sugar substitutes are increasingly attractive.
Sugar is a factor in most of these trending health topics.
As attention to diet and other health concerns increases, sugar could be at risk. The question is which substitutes consumers are most likely to embrace in its place.
Not for the first time, sugar is on the rocks. Sustained consumer interest in healthy diets and limiting intake means sugar is likely to lose market share.
That may be a bitter pill for some, but new opportunities in food and beverage will necessarily arise as consumers seek out healthy sweeteners. Big YOY gains for xylitol and erythritol make them potential contenders, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to steal sugar’s crown.