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May 9, 2006

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?

nearly two thrids of the public question the safety

According to a June report by Mintel, nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame, which could impact the direction of the sugar-free foods market.


Although sales of sugar-free products have not declined, 64 percent of Americans claim to be concerned about artificial sweeteners' safety. More statistics have recently surfaced showing that the sugar substitutes raised health concerns.


"The uncertainty [of sweeteners' safety] is not stopping people from using sugar-free products," said Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst for Mintel, the firm that conducted the research. "But as far as customers are concerned, moderation is key once they have chosen the substitute they feel is safest."


The sugar-free foods market in the United States has grown 24 percent since 1999, and was a $5.9 billion market in 2005. The majority of sugar-free food consumers are diabetics and people trying to lose weight. In 2002, 6 percent of the U.S. population was diabetic, while 60 percent were overweight, which spells a huge potential growth in demand for low-calorie and sugar-free foods.


However, the report also states that although sugar-free foods do not satiate the appetite as well, which can lead to increased consumptions of the foods containing potentially dangerous artificial sweeteners.


Mintel's report says there is a need for a genuinely safe sweetener, since it seems consumption of artificially sweetened foods will remain high, in spite of consumers' safety concerns.


To date, the FDA has refused to recognize stevia, a natural herbal sweetener, as a safe ingredient in foods. Stevia is widely used throughout the world as a safe, zero-calorie sweetener. In the 1990's, the FDA ordered the destruction of history books and recipe books promoting the use of stevia.


Have an excellent day!





Thom King

President

thom.king@steviva.com

Steviva Brands, Inc.