In recent years, consumer concerns about sugar intake have created a macrotrend of healthier beverages. As a result, the beverage industry has seen natural sweeteners like stevia evolve and become more widely used. In fact, use of plant-derived sweeteners, such as stevia, tripled among food and beverage product launches from 2009 to 2013, according to a recent report from Chicago-based Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research, Surrey, United Kingdom. However, artificial sweeteners, such as acesulfame potassium, sucralose and aspartame, are still dominant among new product launches, the report notes.
Acesulfame potassium, also known as Ace K, led intense sweeteners in terms of food and beverage launch activity last year because of its common usage in sweetener blends, the report states. The sweetener was used in nearly half of new product launches in 2013; however, its usage has declined 7 percentage points since 2009. Sucralose is the next most popular intense sweetener in terms of new product launches. It has remained stable for the past five years and made an appearance in approximately 40 percent of all food and beverages with an intense sweetener launched last year, according to the report. Aspartame took the No. 3 spot with about one-third of new product launches.