How can stevia open up opportunities for manufacturers in Europe?


Within the food and beverage sector we see many global consumers trends influencing new product development. In Europe, there has been growth in two trends, in particular – plant-based and sugar reduction.

Child eating reduced sugar snack

What is plant-based?

Consumers are seeking products that are better for them and better for the planet. They are drawn to products that are plant-based because positive health outcomes and environmental impacts are associated with plant-based eating.

According to Mintel data1, over the past five years, plant-based food and beverage launches grew 14% in Europe.

What is sugar reduction?

Consumers are looking for ways to get healthy and stay healthy. One recommendation to achieve better health is to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. However, consumers are torn between reducing sugar and maintaining a great taste experience.

How can stevia provide an opportunity for manufacturers in Europe?

According to market data, it seems that both of these trends are connected and driving growth in food and drink product launches in Europe. In fact, product launches in Europe that show plant-based and sugar reduction claims together grew 18%2 over the past five years (CAGR).

As a plant-based sugar alternative, stevia delivers on both trends, while still making great-tasting, healthier food and drinks. Furthermore, 20%3 of all stevia launches feature a vegan claim, compared to 10%4 of all food and drink launches, showing the potential positioning of this sugar-reduction ingredient in the plant-based category.

On the whole, we’ve seen a significant sugar reduction movement happening in Europe. According to Tate & Lyle’s proprietary research, over the next 12 months, 54%5 of European consumers want to consume less sugar and more than half agree that non-artificial sweeteners, such as stevia, are an acceptable solution to control sugar content.

Just 22%6 of European consumers are likely to purchase a product that contains sugar in the ingredients list. In pre-sweetened beverages, for example, 72%7 of consumers have changed their consumption with 80%8 saying they’ve decreased their consumption of pre-sweetened beverages.

This data suggests that there is an opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers in Europe to set themselves apart by launching more products containing stevia. However, on average, only 6%9 of new product launches in Europe over the last five year contain stevia, even though 33%10 of European consumers are willing to purchase a product containing stevia.

There is a big opportunity for European manufacturers to educate consumers about stevia, focusing on its plant-based origins.

1-5 Mintel GNPD
6-8 Tate & Lyle Proprietary Research- Global Ingredient Perception Tracker, 2022
9-10 Mintel GNPD