woman putting sugar in coffee

A Look at the 2021 Sugar Substitutes Market

Strong consumer interest in healthier snacking options is driving growth in the sugar substitutes market. Here’s a look at the trend in sugar-free foods and beverages—plus key takeaways for food and beverage manufacturers.

Global Market Overview

The global sugar substitutes market is expected to reach $18.8 billion by 2027 (from $14.9 billion in 2019), growing at a CAGR of 4.6%, according to a recent Research and Markets report.1 While North America and Europe remain the largest markets for sugar substitutes, the highest growth through 2027 is forecast for the Asia Pacific region.

The sugar substitutes market includes high- and low-intensity sweeteners, both caloric and noncaloric, as well as artificial and natural. Some are predominantly used alone, while others are more commonly used in blends with other sugar substitutes or with sugar itself in the case of reduced-sugar products. Although there has been a recent surge in the development of new sugar substitutes, the most popular globally are:

  • Stevia
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame K
  • Aspartame
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Cyclamate
  • Saccharin
sugar in a bowl

Why Consumers Seek Lower Sugar Options

Rising interest in healthy lifestyles is supporting growth in food and beverage products with reduced-sugar and sugar-free claims. The growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes has made lower sugar options especially relevant since consumers often seek to manage health issues through their food choices. The increasing senior population is another factor in the growing demand for reduced-sugar and sugar-free foods.

Consumer interest in lower sugar snacks, in particular, has been growing. Since meals tend to be savory, consumers interested in reducing sugar intake are more focused on how much sugar is in their snacks—whether it’s a ready-to-drink beverage, a bar, or a yogurt. And recent regulatory changes in the U.S. requiring added sugars on the nutrition label has made it easier than ever for consumers to make informed choices.

Naturally Sourced Sugar Substitutes Preferred

For the consumers checking labels for sugar-free ingredients, a clear preference has emerged for sugar substitutes that are natural. Research and Markets reports that stevia was the most widely used sugar substitute in the market in 2019 and is forecast to have the highest growth (at 7.3%) of all sugar substitutes through the forecast period.2 The clean label trend has become so mainstream that it’s impacting even categories and products (such as diet sodas) that have historically embraced artificial sweeteners.

woman tying her shoe at the gym

Which Foods and Beverages Use Sugar Substitutes

A wide variety of products in the market rely on sugar substitutes to help keep calories and grams of sugar down without sacrificing sweetness. And while sugar-free ingredients have long been essential to formulating weight loss and sports nutrition products, sugar substitutes like stevia can now be found in all kinds of snacks, ranging from ice cream to chocolate bars. This shift reflects consumers’ growing awareness of sugar in products and preference for better-for-you snack options.

Food and beverage products in the market that contain sugar substitutes include:

  • Soft drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Functional beverages
  • Sports nutrition beverages
  • Meal replacement shakes
  • Nutrition and snack bars
  • Frozen desserts
  • Yogurts
  • Sweet baked goods
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Jams and jellies
  • Dressings
  • Confections

Meeting Consumer Demand for Healthy Nutrition

It’s especially important for manufacturers selling in these categories to be aware of how consumers’ expectations are changing. Total sugars and added sugars matter, especially for snacks, and even one gram less can make a product stand out as a healthier choice. In addition, sugar-free ingredients that are natural are becoming more important than ever.

With a wide range of functional and nutritional protein solutions, along with established formulation and application expertise, we have the ability to help you create bars, snacks, and beverages with the texture, nutrition, appearance, and flavor characteristics that health-conscious consumers desire. Our visually appealing and sugar-free EdiSparklz™ edible glitters are also sure to delight. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you create sugar-conscious nutritional products your consumers are sure to enjoy.


1. Research and Markets. (2020). Sugar Substitutes Market By Origin, Category, By Product, By Application, By End Use And Region, Forecasts To 2027

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