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The ultimate guide: How to capture the sugar-free beverage market

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The ultimate guide How to capture the sugar-free beverage market

The Chinese Academy of Sciences predicts the sugar-free beverage industry will increase by over 200 per cent in the next five years, reaching a value of approximately 22.7 billion yuan.

In terms of sugar substitutes, the Chinese Academy of Sciences report pointed out that the market share of natural sweeteners is increasing year by year, from 8.16% in 2010 to 29.41% in 2020. Erythritol has become the first choice for raw sugar substitutes because of its safety and non-participation in body metabolism. In contrast, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are being replaced by natural sweeteners due to safety concerns.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences report stated that achieving more profound “sugar reduction and sugar control” in the beverage industry will be a crucial link in controlling the sugar intake of the general population.

The domestic sugar-free beverage market is expected to double in 5 years.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences report pointed out that with the advancement of the 2030 Healthy China Plan and improving consumers’ health awareness, the domestic sugar-free beverage market will continue to grow.

The market size in 2020 will reach 11.78 billion yuan, a 7-fold increase from 2014. The market will increase to 22.74 billion yuan in 2025, doubling its scale within 5 years. In 2027, the market will continue to climb to 27.6 billion yuan.

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Sugar-free carbonated beverages (including sparkling water) are an essential part of the sugar-free beverage market. Since Vitality Forest launched sugar-free sparkling water in 2018 and quickly became popular, various domestic brands and products of sugar-free sparkling water have sprung up. In 2020, the size of the sugar-free carbonated beverage market with carbonated drink filling machine factory will reach 6.69 billion yuan, accounting for half of the sugar-free beverage market.

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The Chinese Academy of Sciences report has researched consumer preference for the sub-category of sugar-free sparkling water of bottled water profits. In terms of preference, 71% of users care more about taste and taste, and 21% care about nutritional formulas. Only 3.9% of users care about celebrity endorsements, which seems to be lower than previous industry expectations.

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Erythritol has become the first choice for natural sugar substitutes.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences report pointed out that the main reason for the excessive sugar intake of residents is that sweets and sweet drinks can provide good food taste, making chasing sugar a consumer instinct. In recent years, some artificially synthesized and naturally extracted substances can give a sweet taste close to sugar without the harm of sugar and are becoming “sugar substitutes.”

Among them, synthetic sweeteners are the earliest use time and the most significant usage in the market. They are high-power sweeteners and have a relatively low cost. Common artificial sweeteners include sodium cyclamate, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, etc.

It is worth noting that cyclamate has been completely banned in developed countries such as the United States, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom. There are restrictions on its use in my country, and those that meet the limits can still be used in food and beverages. The safety of aspartame is also low. There is a clear limit on the amount of use, and the words “aspartame (containing phenylalanine)” must be marked.

In the past years, the safety of synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame has raised many questions worldwide, and natural sweeteners derived from plants have become the preferred choice for more “sugar-free” products. Common natural sweeteners include erythritol, steviol glycosides, morose and so on. Among more than 10 sweeteners, erythritol has the highest safety.

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According to data from Mintel’s database, during the ten years from 2010 to 2020, the proportion of natural sweeteners added has increased year by year, from 8.16% in 2010 to 29.41% in 2020. The proportion of synthetic sweeteners used has shown an apparent downward trend year by year. The new sweeteners represented by natural sweeteners and sugar alcohols align with the needs of new life attitudes such as health, safety, naturalness, and sugar control. It has shown a positive and rapid development trend in the sugar substitute market. In recent years, erythritol has shown a clear tendency to replace artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

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The Chinese Academy of Sciences report pointed out that erythritol can become a recognized “zero-calorie” natural sweetener mainly because erythritol does not participate in the metabolism of sugar after entering the human body. Still, most of it is excluded from the body and does not cause changes in blood sugar will not produce heat. Because of its dual properties of biological safety and zero calories, erythritol has become the first choice for healthy foods to achieve the goal of “0 sugar”.

“0 preservatives” will become the competitive point of sugar-free beverages.

As a fast-growing emerging category, sugar-free beverages show a homogeneous competition trend in ingredients, flavours, and product selling points.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted a survey of 14 brands of sugar-free sparkling water with a water bottling business plan in the market and found that not adding preservatives has become a concern for enterprises and the public. To satisfy consumers’ concerns about “health”, preservatives will become the main point of competition for significant beverage brands in the future. Currently commonly used preservatives in beverages include sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. In contrast, potassium sorbate is safer than sodium benzoate.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences report believes that although the addition of preservatives to a certain extent meets the national standards, a few domestic brands have established a higher pursuit of “zero preservatives” through self-innovation and have actively explored and tried in the industrial chain and technological innovation.

In addition, the Chinese Academy of Sciences report also shows that nearly 80% of consumers choose to consume sugar-free beverages because of “healthier” rather than an apparent demand for sugar control. The increase in sugar-free beverage products has made consumers’ selection criteria more stringent. Many careful consumers have developed the habit of paying attention to product ingredient lists and nutritional composition lists. Under such a trend, reducing or eliminating the use of preservatives will become a key point of competition in the sugar-free beverage market in the future.

Conclusion paragraph: This post has provided you with a complete guide on how to capture the sugar-free beverage market. You’ve learned about what consumers want, why they buy these beverages and where it is going in the future. If you are interested in learning more about this topic or need help capturing your own share of this lucrative industry, contact us by below form for a quote today! We have everything from filling machines to labels that will make getting into this business as easy as can be.

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