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ANALYSIS AND GRAPHS
With growing awareness of the link between diet and health and the increasing publicity being given to the problem of obesity, consumer concern over sugar levels in the diet is propelling a worldwide trend towards cutting down on sugar. The world is turning, instead, to artificial sweeteners and substitutes. The market for sugar substitutes is being fuelled globally by new-age beverages, dairy products, salad dressings and snack foods at one end and diabetic specific consumables at the other end.
India is the second largest producer of sugar and its largest consumer in the world – much of it being used in sweetmeats. But increasingly, the massive consumption of sugar-based products is being associated not only with diabetes – India has the dubious distinction of being called the diabetic capital of the world – but also with obesity and heart diseases.
Marketers see Sugar substitutes as a window of opportunity. While the country’s sugar confectionery market is estimated to be on the higher side f a whopping 2,200 Crore, the size of the sugar substitute category, as per ORG retail audit, is merely half a percent of this close to 110 Crore, limited largely to urban centres. However, the annual growing rate of sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners is about 15-20% and this is likely to pick pace by every passing year. The sugar-free sweetener sachets, once visible only at high-end restaurant tables, have now penetrated into drawing rooms and office tables.
Among the sugar substitute products currently scattered in India, Zydus Calida’s umbrella brand Sugar Free owns 70% of the market share. Launched in 1988, Sugar Free was the first aspartame-based sugar substitute in the country. It was initially positioned for diabetic or overweight consumers. Today, however, such products are being used by fitness conscious consumers and have attained a distinctive position in the wellness and fitness space. The market is expected to witness an aggressive competition in the years to come.
Uses for artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are attractive alternatives to sugar because they add virtually no calories to your diet. In addition, you need only a fraction compared with the amount of regular sugar you would normally use for sweetness. Artificial sweeteners are widely used in processed products, including tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, candy, puddings, canned foods, jams and jellies, dairy products, and scores of other foods and beverages. Artificial sweeteners are also popular for home use. Some can even be used in baking or cooking. Certain recipes may need modification, though, because artificial sweeteners provide no bulk or volume, as does sugar.
Possible health benefits of artificial sweeteners
Weight control. One of the most appealing aspects of artificial sweeteners is that they are non-nutritive — they have virtually no calories. *
Diabetes. Artificial sweeteners may be a good alternative to sugar if you have diabetes. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners generally don't raise blood sugar levels because they are not carbohydrates. *
Dental cavities. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners don't contribute to tooth decay.
Possible health concerns with artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners have been the subject of intense scrutiny for decades. Critics of artificial sweeteners say that they cause a variety of health problems, including cancer. But according to the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies, there's no sound scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer or other serious...
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