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Brief Published: 17 Sep 2013

New Legislation May Boost Sugar Alternatives


Complex changes to European sugar regulations could boost the alternative sugar and sweetener market, and enable new brands to compete against major industry players.

The new EU policy is expected to end the minimum prices of beet production, which were set in place to support farmers and protect sugar companies from competition. Current quotas also aim to reduce the production of sugar alternatives made from lower-cost grains such as isoglucose (also known as high fructose corn syrup). The new quota will now allow them to fully and fairly join the market.

The new policy is part of a wider reform of the common agricultural policy as the EU responds to the challenges of climate change, growth and rural employment to make farming fairer, greener and more efficient. It is expected to commence in October 2017.

The EU is the world’s largest producer of beet sugar and the main importer of raw cane sugar for refining. Beet sugar represents 20% of global production, while the other 80% is derived from sugar cane. Over the past few years, a raft of new sugar and sweetener products have entered the marketplace, offering consumers a plethora of choice for both natural and artificial sugar replacements. Their success will depend on whether food and drink brands opt to use them in their recipes, and whether consumers will accept these changes.

See The New Sugar: Alternative Sweeteners for further insights into the adoption of ‘new sugars’ and the impact they are having on product development.