Obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 78.6 million adults are overweight or obese, with 12.7 million children and adolescents in the same category.
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 the ballad “The Sweetest Thing,” the pop rock band U2 sang about how love is the sweetest thing, but when it comes to the beverage market, the sweetest thing also is the biggest thing. Across 13 ingredient categories, sweeteners accounted for 85 percent of the 46.4 million tons of ingredients used in beverages in 2011, according to an April 2013 report by Chicago-based Euromonitor International titled “Beverage Ingredients: Trends and Influences.”