Natural sweetener popularity across the board continues to rise; the category is up 8 percent according to the SPINS scan. Agave, which is 1.4 times sweeter than sugar, has been a driving force in the overall growth of the sweetener industry. Agave-based sweeteners sold nearly $17.8 million in the past year, an increase of 46%.
During the BioFach show held in Germany in February, Canadian manufacturers of organic maple syrup also reported strong demand in the natural sweetener market globally. At Citadelle of Plessisville, Quebec, Luc Desbiens director of marketing said there is a lot more research that reveals the nutritional value of maple syrup.
“It is pure and natural from the tree and confirms there are many minerals and trace elements and 54 anti-oxidants, and it has an acid that is good for the digestion,” he said. “There are more and more findings about the nutritional aspects of maple syrup and it is a perfect replacement for sugar. Export sales are going up and the industry has 40 million pounds of stock in hand. Prices are quite stable and we are seeing a good increase in our sales.”
While the economic downturn and recession in some countries has had an effect, and due to the high Canadian dollar, it costs more to import maple syrup, Mr. Desbiens said helping demand are the health benefits of maple syrup, the good taste, being GMO-free and allergen-free.
Great Northern Maple Syrup of Quebec is also doing well in the business of organic maple syrup. The company also offers agave nectar. Although the vast majority of US carbonated soft drinks are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, sugar is making a comeback. Coca-Cola launched a new enhanced water and juice beverage containing blue agave.
”The market is growing and helping us is the increase in the price of raw sugar and the move against high fructose corn syrup in the USA,” says Mr. Luc Tardiff. ”We are now exporting to over 35 countries and interest at BioFach has been strong.”