Stevia is a sugar substitute derived from the leaves of stevia rebaudiana plant. This high intensity low calorie sweetener is proven to prevent significant number of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases and so on. Mainly caused by the high calorie intake, obesity has become a major health issue in many parts of the world. According to the WHO statistics, around 2.8 million people die each year owing to obesity. The U.S. has the highest prevalence population suffering from obesity followed by Mexico, New Zealand, England and Australia. A recent survey by the U.S. government revealed that high calorie intake in the form of soft drinks is the major reason behind high obesity prevalence. Stevia has been approved in top ten countries with most obese population which includes the U.S., China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Indonesia. These countries hold around 50% of the world’s obese population and are either developed or developing nations.
By replacing stevia with sugar, consumers have been reducing their calorie intake which avoids potential health risks. Recognizing the growing demand for low-calorie sweeteners, F&B manufacturers are switching to stevia and signing agreements with stevia providers for bulk sourcing. Key agreements include Coca-Cola’s agreement with PureCircle (Malaysia) and Cargill Inc. (U.S.), Pepsi Co. agreement with PureCircle (Malaysia), COFCO nutrition (China) agreement with GLG Lifetech (Canada). There has been a brisk growth in the stevia based product launches especially in beverages segment in the recent years, mainly due to the increasing approvals from various countries and mounting demand from consumers. Awareness on stevia sweetened drinks has grown considerably with the entry of Coca-Cola and Pepsi with their low-calorie drinks such as Life and True respectively. Beverages end use segment accounted for around 40% of the global stevia market revenue and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.4% during 2017-2022. With the growing concern on obesity coupled with rising availability of stevia based products, global stevia market is estimated to reach revenue of $719.9m by 2022 at a CAGR of 8.6%.
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