Stevia sales are expected to progress this year as more manufacturers open new production plants to cater to the demand.
The country’s stevia market started to expand in 2015 in line with consumer demand in the ingredient after food and beverage companies began widely using the natural sweetener. As a result, Chinese stevia companies have centred their strategy on low-cost manufacturing and to mainly supply crude stevia, rather than maximising their market value and profit margin.
China’s local stevia prices have been dwindling steadily as a result from growing capacity and increasingly thriving competition in the market, according to market research company CCM.
Export volumes of stevia extract were the highest among all plant extracts from China in both 2015 and 2016. America and Malaysia were the main export countries; with America accounting for more than one third of total exports. Korea, Japan, and Mexico were also highlighted as major export destinations. Asia Pacific is becoming the biggest consumer of stevia, and accounts for more than half of global demand.
The price of stevia has dropped significantly since 2015. In January 2015, the market price for one tonne of RA95 stevia was US$122,000, then dwindled down to US$73,000 in July 2016. However, prices have improved slightly to US$77,300 in February 2017.
Production of stevia is expected to grow substantially during the course of this year as manufacturers compete in this growing market, especially as big customers such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Starbucks have heightened their focus on natural sweeteners like stevia.