Bittersweet Time for South African Food Sweetener Market, Says Frost & Sullivan

Food and beverage industry awaits impact of food regulations on non-nutritive sweeteners

May 27, 2015, 03:32 ET from Frost & Sullivan

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The South African food sweetener market, which includes sugar, polyols and non-nutritive sweeteners, is at a crucial inflection point in its growth trajectory. The market is dominated by sugar, when analysed in terms of volume, and sugar consumption continues to grow in line with the country's gross domestic product and population expansion. However, sugar could slowly lose ground to sugar substitutes, especially non-nutritive sweeteners, owing to health concerns, such as obesity and non-communicable diseases.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the South African Food Sweetener Market (, finds that despite South Africa's high per capita sugar consumption, sugar production is slower than the rest of Africa and is set to wane. Higher production capacity than is currently needed for the domestic market in South Africa; however, offers scope for export.

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"The demand for sugar, at present, remains steady as consumers favour the sweet taste that it provides," said Frost & Sullivan Chemicals, Materials and Food Senior Industry Analyst Carolyn Krynauw. "While the sugar-free trend has also led to an increase in the use of non-nutritive sweeteners, the government is looking to limit the dependence of the food and beverage industry on such sweeteners."

Regulations proposed by the South African Department of Health have created a wave of uncertainty in the non-nutritive sweetener segment, which could affect profits. As a result, this is driving manufacturers to return to sugar while the search is on for new, more natural sweeteners.

The overall market will stabilise as manufacturers strike a balance between sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners, substitute sugar with natural replacement products - which have a similar flavour profile - or revert to basic nutritive sweeteners such as honey and syrup as alternatives.

"In this scenario, business diversification and geographic expansion become crucial," advised Krynauw. "Diverting sugar towards the industrial consumption, such as the ethanol blending sector or tapping into the East or West African markets, will boost margins and serve South African manufacturers well in the long run."

Analysis of the South African Food Sweetener Market is a Market Insight that is part of the Food & Agriculture Growth Partnership Service program. This market insight provides market metrics for the South African sweetener market up to 2019. It outlines the drivers and restraints for each segment and to what extent it relies on imports, discusses recent proposed regulations which will affect the sweetener market, and highlights international trends that may become pertinent to South Africa in the next 5 to 10 years.

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Analysis of the South African Food Sweetener Market

Samantha James
Corporate Communications – Africa
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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan