China keeps evolving to a promising market for stevia sweetener 04-19-2017

China’s stevia sweetener market is growing rapidly. Manufacturers see their chances in increasing domestic and global demand. However, the stevia sweeteners price in China is dropping continuously, due to higher capacity and growing competition. Market intelligence firm CCM believes, that the capacity will keep growing fast in 2017, as more enterprises launch new production lines to satisfy the demand.


The turnover for China’s stevia sweetener industry began in 2015 when the first enterprises started using stevia sweeteners to differentiate from the mainstream. Since then, the alternative sweetener industry in China has developed fast. Nowadays, China accounts for the largest stevia producer worldwide, according to Zenith International.


Some of the pioneers in using stevia as sweeteners have been Tingyi (Cayman Islands) and Uni-president China. However, despite the efforts of China’s leading beverage producers, the enterprises are still lacking behind in efficient product and enterprise marketing. As a result, China’s manufacturers were meant to set their focus on low-marketed products in few needs of investments and production costs. This lets China’s producers function as a supplier for crude stevia sweeteners instead of searching for higher margins and market values.


Hence, the export volume of stevia extract was the largest export in terms of plant extracts in 2015 and 2016. The main export destinations have been the USA and Malaysia, while the USA accounted for more than one-third of total exports. Other notable export destinations have been Korea, Japan, and Mexico.


In fact, the global demand for alternative sweeteners like stevia is growing rapidly with the Asia-Pacific market is becoming the largest consumer for those, accounting for more than half of the total demand.


China’s manufacturers are currently increasing investments in stevia sweeteners to please the growing demand in the country and worldwide. According to market intelligence firm CCM, a company, which is launching a new production line, for example, is Dongtai Nashengte. The subsidiary of Zhucheng Haotian plans an annual production line for 30,000 tonnes a year capacity.


Despite the ex-works price of stevia sweeteners is falling constantly since 2015, the production is getting more attractive due to sufficient stevia supply and high demand internationally. On January 2015, the price for one tonne of stevia sweetener (RA95) was more than USD122,000. The bottom of the continuous drop was reached in July 2016 with a value of almost USD73,000. According to CCM’s price monitoring, the price in February 2017 was able to recover slightly from January up to a value of USD77,309 per tonne.


However, there are also incidents that add a not-so-sweet taste for China’s stevia industry. In 2016, the USA has banned imports of Chinese sweeteners in accusing of involving forced labour in the production. Especially a company from China’s province Inner Mongolia was stated to produce stevia sweeteners by using forced labour.


CCM is of the opinion, that the stevia sweetener production capacity will expand notably in 2017, as manufacturers see their chances in this growing market. Big clients like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Starbucks are focusing more on natural sweeteners like stevia, which elevates demand for Chinese producers.


About CCM

CCM is the leading market intelligence provider for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets.


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