China Food

New opportunities of sugar substitute behind the sugar free trend


In recent years, the whole nation has been “sugar free”. From foreign food and beverage giants to local traditional enterprises and cutting-edge brands, they have launched a variety of new sugar substitutes or even zero sugar products. Many countries and regions in the world have imposed strict sugar taxes, and China has also issued a number of policy documents frequently to advocate reducing sugar and replacing sucrose with natural sweeteners and sweeteners permitted by food safety standards.

However, the concepts of Zero sugar, zero sucrose, low sugar and substitute sugar are often abused. Yuanqi forest apologized for the promotion of Zero sugar and zero sucrose on the evening of April 10. What is the sugar reduction advocated by the state? Is the product that claims 0 sugar 0 calorie 0 fat really 0 sugar? What is the hot fried erythritol? This article will analyze the sugar industry from three aspects: sugar industry, sweeteners and 2C sugar consumer goods, hoping to help you understand the above concepts and inspire investment and entrepreneurship.


What is “sugar”?

1. Classification of sugar

From the chemical point of view, sugars are a kind of important organic compounds widely distributed in nature. Daily consumption of sucrose, starch in food, cellulose in plants and glucose in human blood all belong to sugars. In terms of molecular structure, sugars can be defined as polyhydroxy aldehydes, polyhydroxy ketones, their condensates and their dehydrated condensates. According to whether it can be hydrolyzed and the products after hydrolysis, sugars can be divided into monosaccharides, oligosaccharides (disaccharides are the most important) and polysaccharides.

  • Monosaccharide: can not be hydrolyzed into simpler sugars, including glucose, fructose and galactose.
  • Oligosaccharides: 2-10 moles of monosaccharide can be produced after hydrolysis of each mole of sugar. Disaccharides (disaccharides) are the most important, and the common disaccharides include sucrose, maltose and lactose.
  • Polysaccharide: each mole of polysaccharide can be hydrolyzed into many moles of monosaccharide, such as starch and cellulose.
Sugar, as we usually say, usually refers to sugar, that is, sugar in a narrow sense. It generally refers to the crystal of organic compounds with sweet taste and soluble in water, that is, monosaccharide and disaccharide. The most important one is sucrose in disaccharide. Sucrose exists in most plants. Sugar beet and sugarcane are the most abundant. The white sugar and brown sugar that we usually eat are sucrose. In a broad sense, sugars include not only sweet substances, but also odorless and tasteless starch, cellulose and other polysaccharides. In this paper, we discuss the sugar refers to the narrow concept of sugar, instant sugar, mainly sucrose.
When we talk about reducing sugar, what kind of sugar are we reducing?
Before answering this question, let’s take a look at the definition of sugar in the recommendations of who and China.

In the World Health Organization’s 2014 updated guidelines on sugar intake for adults and children, it is recommended that free sugar intake be reduced to less than 5% of total energy intake. According to who’s explanation in the World Health Organization bulletin, the “sugar reduction” proposal here only focuses on free sugar, excluding sugar in whole fruits and vegetables. Sugars in fruits and vegetables are called endogenous sugars. These sugars are wrapped by a layer of plant cell wall, digest more slowly, and take longer to enter the bloodstream than free sugars. According to the definition of who, free sugar refers to monosaccharide and disaccharide added to food by manufacturers, cooks or consumers, plus sugar naturally existing in honey, syrup and juice.  

In the “healthy China action (2019-2030)” issued in 2019, it is pointed out that the daily intake of added sugar (mainly sucrose, i.e. “white sugar” and “brown sugar”) per capita in China is about 30g, among which the intake of children and adolescents deserves high attention. It is suggested that the daily sugar intake of adults should not be higher than 25g, that consumers should be encouraged to reduce their sugar intake, and that food producers and operators should use natural sweeteners and sweeteners permitted by food safety standards to replace sucrose. It can be seen that the “sugar” in sugar reduction advocated by our country refers to the artificial addition of sugar, the most important is sucrose.

Although the definitions of sugar reduction in who and China’s policies are not exactly the same, we can still draw a common conclusion: sugar or sugar usually refers to artificial refined sugar, of which the most important is sucrose, including white sugar, brown sugar, etc. Sugar reduction advocated in various policies mainly refers to reducing the intake of artificial refined sugar such as sucrose.
For the sugar industry which produces artificial refined sugar, it mainly uses sugarcane and beet as raw materials to produce sucrose. China is a big country of sugar production and sugar consumption. As an important raw material of sweet food, sucrose (mainly white granulated sugar) widely exists in all kinds of packaging products. In addition to biscuits, bread, drinks and other products with obvious sweet taste, puffed food, spicy bar and other salty and spicy snacks also contain white granulated sugar.
3. What is real sugar?

“Healthy China action (2019-2030)” pointed out that we should speed up the revision of the general principles of nutrition labeling of prepackaged food, increase the mandatory labeling of sugar such as sucrose, encourage enterprises to claim “low sugar” or “no sugar”, actively promote the use of “positive packaging label (FOP)” information on food packaging, help consumers quickly choose healthy food, and strengthen the nutrition protection of prepackaged food Supervision and management of labels.

So what are the “low sugar” and “no sugar” advocated by the state?

According to the general principles for nutrition labeling of prepackaged food (GB 28050-2011), the content of sugar in prepackaged food not exceeding 0.5g/100g (solid) or 100ml (liquid) can be marked as “no or no sugar”; the content of sugar in prepackaged food not exceeding 5g / 100g (solid) or 100ml (liquid) can be marked as “low sugar”.

Here “sugar” mainly refers to monosaccharide and disaccharide. Therefore, the absence of sucrose in food is not equal to the absence of other monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose) or disaccharides (lactose, maltose), so 0 sucrose is not equal to 0 sugar.

4. What is sugar substitute?
In recent years, with the intake of high sugar energy diet, the rates of diabetes, overweight, obesity and dental caries are increasing. People gradually realize the harm of excessive intake of sugar to the body. But millions of years of adaptation to the environment has shaped the genetic structure of human beings, and people’s preference for sweetness is engraved in their evolutionary genes. Although we know that eating sugar is not healthy, but eating sugar can reduce stress and bring relaxation and pleasure, so most people are still difficult to give up sweets.

On the one hand, it is the awakening of people’s health consciousness and the pursuit of healthy lifestyle; on the other hand, it is difficult for people to get rid of the temptation of sugar on taste buds. Therefore, the demand for sugar substitutes, which can not only meet people’s less sugar intake, but also satisfy people’s taste, arises at the historic moment.

Sugar substitutes, more accurately, should be called sweeteners, which can endow food with sweetness, low energy or no energy. Sweeteners can not only meet the consumers’ demand for sweet taste, but also have no high energy of sugar and will not raise blood sugar rapidly. Therefore, they have become the substitutes of sugar and are more and more widely used in food and beverage.
Although there are disputes about the safety of sweeteners, with the progress of production technology and R & D technology, new sweeteners with good taste and higher safety are gradually applied, and early sweeteners with low safety will continue to withdraw. In the national standard for food safety, standard for the use of food additives (gb2760-2014), China has made specific provisions on the types of sweeteners allowed to be used, the scope of use and the maximum amount of use. It is safe to use sweeteners according to relevant regulations and standards. Later, we will analyze the characteristics and development status of various sweeteners.
What is 2C consumer product sugar?
For C-end consumers, sugar consumer goods can be divided into two categories: one is the candy that can be eaten directly for leisure snacks, such as the brown sugar ginger tea made by Yun Geng Wu and the functional sugar of buff; the other is the solid sugar or syrup that can be directly added to drinks and foods as flavoring sugar, or the sugar used for home cooking and baking, which is widely used in Europe, America and Japan Baking is commonly used in traditional countries.

Development status of sugar industry
1. Industry development overview
Sugarcane and beet are the main raw materials of artificial refined sugar
Sugarcane is a tropical and subtropical crop, which needs high annual average temperature and abundant rainfall. The main producing areas of sugarcane sugar are Brazil, India, southern China, Thailand, southern United States, Australia, Pakistan, etc China, Canada, northern China, Japan, etc. There are only eight countries in the world, including China, the United States, Japan, Russia and Argentina, which produce both cane sugar and beet sugar. Sugar yield of sugarcane is 15% – 20%, sugar yield of beet is 10% – 17%. Because beet sugar contains betaine and raffinose, its taste is not as good as cane sugar.
In terms of output, before 1970s, the proportion of sugarcane sugar and beet sugar was basically the same, and sugarcane sugar accounted for about 55% of the total supply; with the development of sugarcane industry in Brazil, India and other countries, the sugarcane sugar output increased significantly in the 1980s, and the gap with beet sugar output gradually widened; after the 21st century, with the reform of the sugar market in the European Union, the output of various countries increased with the reduction of subsidies and production quotas The yield of sugar beet decreased further. According to the data of the U.S. Department of agriculture, in 2018, the global sugar output was 194.5 million tons, including 151.02 million tons of sucrose, accounting for 78%; 43.47 million tons of beet sugar, accounting for 22%. On the whole, the global sugarcane output has increased to a certain extent in recent years, which is relatively stable. The yield of sugarcane in China is much higher than that of sugar beet, which fluctuates in different years due to the influence of sugar cycle.
India, Brazil, EU, Thailand and China are the five largest sugar producing regions in the world, accounting for 60% of the total sugar production
In 2018 / 19, the top five sugar producing countries / regions in the world are India, Brazil, EU, Thailand and China, accounting for about 60% of the total global sugar production. In 2019, with the reduction of sugar production in Brazil, India will become the largest sugar producer and the country with the largest consumption of white sugar in the world. Brazil is still the decisive country in the international sugar price, accounting for the largest proportion of exports; Thailand is the second largest exporter of raw sugar, and white sugar production is an important industry.
In the 2018 / 19 crushing season, the world sugar export volume was 54.86 million tons, accounting for more than 30% of the total world output in the crushing season. The major sugar producing countries in the world are also big exporters. In 2018 / 19, Brazil, Thailand, India, Australia and the European Union accounted for 71.5% of the total global sugar exports, of which Brazil accounted for 35.7%.
The production capacity of China’s sugar industry is not enough to support domestic consumption; Guangxi is the main sugar producing area in China, accounting for 59%
China is the third largest sugar consumer in the world. The US Department of agriculture predicts that China’s sugar consumption will reach 15.8 million tons in the 18 / 19 pressing season, with a year-on-year growth of 0.6%. After 2014, China’s sugar consumption ended the overall upward trend, fluctuated at the level of 15 million tons, and stabilized as a whole. China’s sugar production capacity is not enough to support domestic consumption. About three percent of domestic sugar consumption has been dependent on imports, making it the second largest sugar importer.
Because of the difference of suitable temperature for growth, sugarbeet is mainly suitable for planting in Northeast, northwest, North China and other low temperature areas. The main producing areas are Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and other places. Sugarcane is suitable to grow in Guangxi, Yunnan and Guangdong. Sugarcane sugar is the main production in China, accounting for 87% in 2018 / 2019. Guangxi is the main sugar producing area in China, accounting for 59% of the total sugar production in China.
Limited by the growth characteristics of raw materials, sugar production fluctuated periodically
Because of the growth characteristics of sugarcane and beet, the production of sugar has obvious periodicity. After the sugarcane was harvested last year, the sugarcane buds left in the land germinated and unearthed under suitable environmental conditions, and then grew into sugarcane plant, which is called ratoon sugarcane. The ratoon age is generally 2-3 years. Ratoon sugarcane generally accounts for about 70% of the planting area. The growth of ratoon sugarcane directly affects the total yield of sugarcane in the next year. Ratoon sugarcane has the rule of increasing yield in 2-3 years and decreasing yield in the next 2-3 years. Generally, the whole cycle is 6 years. The price of white sugar will fall for three years and rise for more than two years, that is sugar cycle.

2. Market participants

According to the data of China Sugar Association, as of June 2019, there are 40 million sugar farmers and 46 sugar enterprises (groups) in China. There are 216 sugar factories, with a sales revenue of 67.7 billion yuan and a loss of 1.9 billion yuan in 2018. The market participants of China’s sugar industry are mainly listed companies, showing the characteristics of obvious regional, centralization and high degree of nationalization. Listed sugar companies in the secondary market mainly show the characteristics of large deviation of P / E ratio and low P / B ratio.

Development status of sweetener industry
1. Driving force of industry development
1.1 policy
For the sake of national health, reducing sugar has risen to the national level. China has issued a number of policies to advocate reducing sugar
According to the data of “healthy China action 2019-2030” released by the State Council, the burden of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and other chronic diseases accounts for more than 70% of the total disease burden, which has become an important factor affecting health. At present, the daily intake of added sugar (mainly sucrose, namely “white sugar”, “brown sugar”) in China is about 30g (World Health Organization) It is recommended by the who that the daily intake of added sugar per capita should not exceed 25g, and the intake of children and adolescents should be highly concerned. “Healthy China action (2019-2030)” also clearly advocates that urban people with high sugar intake should reduce the consumption of sucrose containing drinks and sweets, and choose natural sweeteners and sweeteners to replace the drinks and foods produced by sucrose.

Shenzhen health and Health Commission issued the notice on the production standard and setting standard (Trial) of health warning signs for alcoholic beverages and carbonated beverages in Shenzhen, officially announcing the relevant signs, which is the first in China. According to the “health regulations”, from January 1, 2021, the labeling of sugar beverage sales places has been clearly standardized. If the merchants do not set up relevant labels, the market supervision and administration department will give a warning and set up corresponding punishment rules.
It is worth mentioning that these policies and regulations all place special emphasis on restricting the sale of high sugar drinks and snacks in primary and secondary schools and kindergartens, and building healthy campuses. From childhood to primary and secondary school students to pass and cultivate sugar free and less sugar life philosophy and lifestyle, but also affect their adult consumption habits. In the long run, it is the general trend to eat less sugar.
From a global perspective, as early as 2003, the World Health Organization proposed to reduce the intake of free sugar of adults and children to less than 10% of the total energy intake; after ten years of research, more evidence shows that reducing free sugar is beneficial to human health. In 2014, the world health organization further proposed to reduce the intake of free sugar to less than 5% of the total energy intake.

After 2014, more and more countries are aware of the harm of excessive polysaccharide intake to human health, and adopt the way of compulsory taxation to reduce people’s sugar intake. At present, many countries and regions in the world have imposed strict sugar tax.

1.2 demand side

From the demand side, the pursuit of internal health and external beauty, consumers’ demand for reducing sugar is increasing
Excessive intake of sugar will not only increase the risk of heart disease and cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, dental caries, but also accelerate skin aging and wrinkles. Therefore, whether it is the pursuit of internal health or external beauty, reducing sugar is becoming the common demand of consumers of all ages.
In recent years, with the intake of high sugar energy diet, the rates of diabetes, overweight, obesity and dental caries are increasing. According to IDF data, the number of people with diabetes (20-79 years old) in the world has reached 463 million in 2019, and it is estimated that by 2045, there will be 700 million people with diabetes in the world. IDF predicts that by 2045, China, India and the United States will have 147 million, 134 million and 36 million diabetes patients, respectively.

The report on nutrition and chronic diseases of Chinese residents (2020) shows that the overweight / obesity rate of Chinese adult residents has exceeded 50%, the overweight / obesity rate of adolescents aged 6 to 17 is close to 20%, and the overweight / obesity rate of children under 6 years old has also reached 10%. Obesity has become an important problem affecting the health of Chinese residents.
With the increasingly prominent health problems such as diabetes and obesity, as well as the promotion of the concept of sugar reducing life by relevant institutions, consumers’ awareness of sugar control has been continuously improved, and they gradually prefer to choose low sugar / sugar free products in product consumption.

1.3 supply side

With the maturity of production and R & D process, the performance of sweetener is iterative; in terms of cost, the cost of sweetener is far lower than that of sucrose
Sweeteners have been developed and applied for more than 100 years. With the progress of technology and R & D, sweeteners are continuously optimized, and their ease of use, stability and safety are getting higher and higher. The maturity of R & D and production process provides the basis for their application. In addition, the dual needs of consumers for health and taste, and the awareness of reducing sugar are also forcing the optimization of various new sugar substitutes.

From the cost point of view, when the artificial sweetener and sucrose achieve the same sweetness, the cost of artificial sweetener is less than 10% of sucrose. For manufacturers, using sweetener instead of sucrose can significantly reduce the production cost. According to the research data of industrial securities, taking common drinks as an example, the sugar content of a 1L medium sugar beverage is usually 50-100g. Under the same sweetness, replacing sucrose with Acesulfame or sucralose can reduce the cost of sweetener by 91.5% and 92.3% respectively, with significant cost advantage.

2. Classification and characteristics of sweeteners

Sweetener is a kind of food additives, which can give food sweet taste. It has low energy or no energy. There are many kinds of sweeteners, which can be divided into synthetic sweeteners, natural sweeteners and functional sugar alcohols according to their sources; they can be divided into high sweeteners and low sweeteners according to their sweetness multiples. The sweetness of natural sweeteners and synthetic sweeteners is usually tens to hundreds or even thousands of times that of sucrose, which belongs to high sweeteners; the sweetness of functional sugar alcohols is usually lower or slightly equal to that of sugarcane Sugar is a low power sweetener.

It should be noted that although glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose and other sugars are also considered as natural sweeteners, they are usually not regarded as food additives because they have been consumed for a long time. The sweeteners discussed in this paper do not include these sugars.
From the perspective of application, sweeteners are widely used in beverage, table condiment, personal care products, baked goods, medicine, health food, candy and chocolate, pharmaceutical products, chemical products and other fields. Among them, the beverage field is the main application field of sweeteners.

From the perspective of application direction, it can be divided into food additives used in the production process of b-end enterprises and sugar products that can be directly consumed by C-end consumers.

  • B-end manufacturers: as food and beverage additives, added in the production of products. Sugar is one of the main ingredients of most food and beverage. With the development of sugar free trend, downstream consumers’ demand for reducing sugar will force upstream food and beverage manufacturers to accelerate the replacement of sugar by sweeteners.
  • C-end consumers: directly eat candy, leisure snacks and functional candy; directly add solid sugar or syrup in drinks and food, as well as seasoning sugar for cooking and baking.
Next, we will analyze the characteristics and development status of various sweeteners in detail.

2.1 artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners refer to the chemical substances with sweet taste through artificial chemical modification or synthesis. They have high sweetness and no heat. Most artificial sweeteners are hardly transformed by human body and have no nutritional value. Artificial sweeteners appeared early and have experienced six product iterations from saccharin sodium, sodium cyclamate and aspartame to acesulfame, sucralose and neotame with higher safety and better taste.

Saccharin sodium
Saccharin sodium is a synthetic sweetener with the longest history. It was introduced in 1879 and put into production in 1910. The sweetness of saccharin sodium is about 350 times that of sucrose. However, its safety is questionable and many countries have banned it. In China, the production and application of saccharin sodium have been controlled, and fixed-point production, limited production and sales, and total amount control have been implemented.

Sweet element
Sodium cyclamate was introduced in 1937. Its sweetness is about 50 times of sucrose. It has the risk of cancer. It is banned in more than 40 countries in the world. It can be used in canned fruit, jelly, cold drink, compound seasoning, bread, pastry, instant rice noodles, jam, preserves, cooked beans, fruit cake, cold fruit, nuts and other food categories, and its dosage is strictly limited. In addition to the above foods, other foods are not allowed to add sodium cyclamate.

Aspartame was developed in 1965 and officially produced in 1970s. Its sweetness is about 200 times of sucrose. It is generally safe, but it is not suitable for patients with phenylketonuria. At present, it has been approved for use in more than 90 countries and regions. Aspartame is unstable at high temperature or high pH value, so it is not suitable for foods that need to be baked at high temperature. Therefore, aspartame is widely used in drinks.

An Saimi
Acemi was developed in 1967 and officially mass-produced in 1978. Its sweetness is about 200 times that of sucrose. It has high cost performance, high safety and stability, and good taste. At present, it has been approved by more than 100 countries. In 2005, the German nutrinova acemi patent expired, domestic enterprises have invested in the construction of acemi production capacity, resulting in the rapid increase of acemi production capacity.

Sucralose, commonly known as sucralose, was introduced in 1976 and put into the market in 1988. Its sweetness is about 600 times that of sucrose. It is a functional sweetener based on sucrose and has good solubility and stability. Approved by more than 120 countries, it is mainly used in food, health care products, medical and daily chemical products. According to the data of East China University of science and technology, the global demand for sucralose increased by more than four times from 2500 tons in 2009 to 11000 tons in 2018. At present, the global demand for sucralose is growing by about 15-20%, and the market development trend is good. China’s sucralose market began to develop in 2008. By 2018, the market demand has reached nearly 3000 tons, accounting for about 30% of the global total market demand. It is the fastest growing market area in the world in recent years. China is a big producer and exporter of sucralose products, 80% of which are exported and about 20% are sold domestically.  

New sweet
Neotame was developed in 1993, officially approved by China in 2003 and approved by EU in 2010. The sweetness is 7000-13000 times of sucrose, with high sweetness, pure sweetness, no bitterness and other aftertaste. Due to the high sweetness, it is difficult to control, so its application is not mature at present.
Altan was developed by Pfizer in 1979. It has the sweetness and flavor of sucrose. The sweetness is fast and lasting, without any bitterness. However, it has a slight sulfur flavor due to the sulfur atom in the molecular structure. Its sweetness is 2000-2900 times of sucrose. Altan has not been approved by FDA. Only China, Australia, Mexico and other six countries in the world approve the use of Altan.

2.2 natural sweeteners

Natural sweeteners are extracted from natural plants, and usually have the name of the plant in the name. The ingredients of natural sweeteners are safe, and the application time is not long at present. They are mainly divided into somatode, Ammonium Glycyrrhizinate, stevioside and Mogroside. Stevioside and Mogroside are the two main natural sweeteners.
The sweetness of somata is 1600-2000 times of that of sucrose. It was first adopted by Japan in 1979, approved by FDA in 1984 for chewing gum, and approved by China in 2014. However, it is only used for ice cream, processed nuts, beverages and table sweeteners, and its application category is limited. At present, the domestic production is small. The results showed that the mixed use of somatine and other sweeteners had better effect and flavor enhancement characteristics.

Ammonium glycyrrhizinate
The sweetness of ammonium glycyrrhizinate is 200-250 times of that of sucrose. The sweetness of ammonium glycyrrhizinate lasts for a long time, the aftertaste is slightly bitter, and the chemical properties are stable. At present, glycyrrhizin is mostly extracted from the root of Glycyrrhiza uralensis. FDA considers glycyrrhizic acid as Gras (generally recognized as safe) compound, but long-term high-dose food or drink containing glycyrrhizic acid can cause severe hypertension, hypokalemia and quadriplegia. Most of the major manufacturers of glycyrrhizin in China are pharmaceutical enterprises, and most of the products are also used in the pharmaceutical field, such as antitussive and expectorant, treatment of liver diseases, etc.

Stevioside is 200-300 times sweeter than sucrose. It is a kind of stevioside extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana. Stevioside is widely used in the production of food, beverage and seasoning in Asia, North America, South America and European Union. China is a major producer in the world. In recent years, a large number of stevioside products have been put on the market, and the market space is broad.

Mogroside from Siraitia grosvenorii
Mogroside is 300 times sweeter than sucrose and has a sweet aftertaste. It is extracted from Mogroside, a special economic plant in Guangxi. It was certified by FDA in early 2012. Mogroside has strong thermal stability and is widely used in food, beverage, health products, medicine and other fields. At present, there is no mandatory requirement for the use and dosage of Mogroside in China.
From the point of origin, due to the limitation of planting environment, Siraitia grosvenorii is only grown and cultivated in China. At present, it is forbidden to take the seeds of Siraitia grosvenorii abroad. The mountainous area of Guangxi is the most suitable place for the growth of Siraitia grosvenorii in China, and Guangxi has become the largest production area of Siraitia grosvenorii in China. With the development of Mogroside industry, Mogroside has been planted in Hunan and Jiangxi.
According to the report of gaken consulting, as of the end of 2018, the planting area of Siraitia grosvenorii in China was more than 200000 mu, the output of Siraitia grosvenorii was 1.44 billion, and the effective production capacity of siraitin was about 1100 tons. In the past decade, the annual growth rate of production capacity was 15%, and the annual production capacity of leading enterprises was between 150-300 tons. Representative enterprises include Guilin jifushi Siraitia grosvenorii Co., Ltd., Guilin Rhine biology Co., Ltd., Hunan Huacheng biology Co., Ltd. and Hunan lvman biology Co., Ltd. However, due to the limitation of upstream raw material planting area and climate, and the limitation of planting area, it is difficult to expand its production capacity on a large scale in a short time.

2.3 functional glycols

Functional sugar alcohol refers to the corresponding polyol of monosaccharide by catalytic hydrogenation and sodium borohydride reduction. It has high safety and stability, good taste, but the sweetness is less than or equal to sucrose, low sweet to price ratio and high unit cost. Functional sugar alcohols are derived from plant products and have higher safety than artificial sweeteners. At present, many children’s sugar free sweets use functional sugar alcohols as sweeteners. Functional sugar alcohols are divided into mannitol, sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomaltonol and lactose alcohol.

Mannitol is a sugar alcohol formed by the reduction of aldehyde group of mannose to alcohol group. It has a cool and sweet taste, and the sweetness is about 57% – 72% of sucrose. Mannitol is not active in chemical properties. Its flavor and taste can mask the smell of vitamins, minerals and herbs. It also has the effect of reducing blood pressure and diuresis. It is widely used in medicine, cosmetics, food and industry.

The main photosynthetic products of Rosaceae plants are cool and sweet, and the sweetness is about half of sucrose. Sorbitol has stable chemical properties and is widely used in medicine, daily necessities and food. It is the largest sugar alcohol in China. According to imarc data, in the global sorbitol consumption structure, the pharmaceutical industry has the highest demand for sorbitol, accounting for about 35%, followed by toothpaste, accounting for 22% of the total global consumption. A large amount of sorbitol can cause diarrhea, and there is no other harm after long-term experiment. In the future, due to the unique role of sorbitol in food, medicine, daily chemical and other fields and its high cost performance, its market demand will continue to increase.

Maltitol is obtained from the hydrogenation of maltose. It is an early sugar alcohol used in low calorie sweeteners, and its sweetness is close to sucrose. The chemical structure of maltitol is stable. In recent years, the sales volume of maltitol in the international market is booming. According to the consulting data of log information, the production capacity of maltitol in China was only 80000 tons in 2015, 150000 tons in 2017 and 190000 tons in 2019.

Xylitol is mainly used in the production of chewing gum, ice cream, baking products and other foods to replace sucrose or other sweeteners. Its sweetness is 1.2 times of sucrose. When it is eaten in solid form, it will produce a cool feeling in the mouth. Xylitol widely exists in all kinds of fruits, vegetables and cereals. At present, most of them are extracted from corncob, hemicellulose and other plant materials. The upstream product of xylitol is corn. China’s corn can be supplied by itself, and the ratio of stock to sales is high for a long time. The price of corn has not fluctuated greatly, and the production cost of xylitol has not changed greatly. According to imarc’s forecast, the compound growth rate of global xylitol market size will reach 5.8% from 2018 to 2023, and the market size is expected to reach US $1.1 billion in 2023.
➄ isomaltonol
Isomaltonol, also known as parakinitol and longevity sugar, is a new functional sugar alcohol in recent years. Its sweetness is 50-60% of sucrose, and its chemical structure is stable. It has the characteristics of low moisture absorption, high tolerance, low calorie and pure sweetness. It is safe and can not be digested by saliva, gastric juice and pancreatic juice, but can only be digested slowly in the small intestine. FDA gives it Gras (recognized safety) status, and the standard of China’s Ministry of health is that the daily intake does not exceed 100g.

Lactose alcohol
Lactose alcohol can be prepared by catalytic hydrogenation of lactose. It was first made from lactose obtained from whey in 1920’s and began to be used in food in 1980’s. The sweetness is refreshing, no aftertaste, half of sucrose. Good stability makes it popular in the baking industry. Candy, biscuits, chocolate, ice cream and other foods without added sugar can be added. In addition, lactose alcohol, as a prebiotic, can be used by probiotics to maintain the health of large intestine. But the sweet price ratio is low and the unit cost is expensive, so it is not widely used at present.

Erythritol is a kind of four carbon sugar alcohol, which widely exists in nature, such as fungi, mushrooms, lichens, melons, melons, grapes, pears. Its sweetness is 60% – 70% of sucrose. It has cool taste in the mouth, pure taste and no aftertaste. It can be combined with high times sweetener to inhibit the bad flavor of high times sweetener. Erythritol is stable in chemical structure, stable in acid and heat, and can be widely used in food industry.
In the past two years, erythritol is used as sweetener to ignite the vitality forest of sugar free market. Due to the influence of Yuanqi forest, the share price of baolingbao, a listed company with erythritol concept, has repeatedly risen in the secondary market. On April 9, 2021, the closing price earnings ratio (static) is as high as 124.5.
The industrial production of erythritol started in Japan in the early 1990s. RIKEN chemical has built a production line with an annual output of 1000 tons. In the following decades, with the slow expansion of downstream application, the production capacity of erythritol has gradually increased. The erythritol industry in China started relatively late. Baolingbao was the first company to enter the industrial production of erythritol in China, followed by Sanyuan biology and Zhucheng Dongxiao. In 2019, Sanyuan biology, baolingbao and Zhucheng Dongxiao will respectively account for 33%, 18% and 6% of the global market share.
Erythritol products can be divided into different specifications according to mesh size, and compound sugar products can be divided into different types according to the required high power sweetener. The sweetness of erythritol is 60-70% of sucrose, which is lower than that of sucrose. As a low power sweetener, erythritol can be mixed with other high power sweeteners to produce different sweetness compound sugars. In compound products, erythritol usually plays the role of filling agent. According to the data of ternary biological prospectuses, taking the compound sugar with 300 times sweetness of Mogroside and erythritol as an example, the weight proportion of Mogroside in 1kg compound sugar is only about 0.19%, and 99.81% is erythritol.
With the rapid development of domestic sugar free market, domestic erythritol consumption also showed a rapid growth. According to LP Information.Inc According to the research data, the global erythritol market in 2019 is about 230 million US dollars. According to Sullivan data, the CAGR of domestic erythritol consumption in 2015-2019 is 53%; in terms of production, the CAGR of global production in 2015-2019 is 14.5%, while that of China is 29.9%, and the growth rate of erythritol products in China is far higher than that of the world. China has become the largest erythritol producer in the world.
The CAGR of erythritol from 2015 to 2019 is 29.9%, which is significantly higher than that of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame and sucralose. Among the three types of artificial sweeteners, sucralose increased significantly, with CAGR of 18.9%, acesulfame of 9.8% and aspartame of – 14.1%.

3. Sweetener entrepreneurship and investment opportunities

According to the Research Report of Guojin securities, the global sweetener market scale is about 9.546 billion yuan, and the Chinese sweetener market scale is about 6.661 billion yuan. At present, the stock market of sweeteners is small, but with the increasing demand of end consumers for diet without saccharification, the upstream food and beverage manufacturers will be forced to speed up the substitution of sweeteners for sucrose, and the market demand space for sweeteners needs to be continuously released. Taking leisure food as an example, according to Frost & Sullivan’s calculation, the sales of domestic leisure food in 2018 reached 1029.7 billion yuan, of which sweet snacks such as baked cakes, candy chocolate and biscuits accounted for 43%. According to the sales data of sugar free snacks on the business advisory number line, consumers have a huge demand for sugar free snacks such as cakes / snacks, biscuits and preserves. It is expected that the demand for sweeteners to replace sucrose in leisure snacks will continue to rise in the future.
Therefore, we believe that with the development of non saccharification trend of products, sweeteners will have great potential in China’s market in the future. As a kind of food additives, downstream manufacturers will consider the cost, taste, safety, stability and other factors when choosing sweeteners. In the previous paper, we analyzed all kinds of sweeteners and their characteristics in detail, and finally summarized which sweeteners have the most entrepreneurial and investment opportunities. To solve this problem from two perspectives: first, whether the characteristics of this kind of sweeteners have the development potential of wide application; second, what is the concentration and competition pattern of this track industry, and whether there is a global leading enterprise with absolute advantage.
Artificial sweetener
Saccharin sodium and sodium cyclamate are the two most widely used artificial sweeteners due to their early application and low price. The yield of saccharin sodium and sodium cyclamate accounts for 28% and 44% respectively, but they have obvious disadvantages in safety, stability and taste. Many countries have banned its use, and China has strict restrictions on its production and use. In addition, as consumers pay more attention to safety and taste, these two kinds of sweeteners will gradually withdraw from the market. The safety of aspartame is relatively high, but it is controversial. According to Sullivan data, the CAGR of aspartame production in 2015-2019 is – 14%, showing a significant downward trend. In the future, with the application of sweeteners with better performance, the application space of aspartame will continue to narrow.

Sucralose and acesulfame are two kinds of artificial sweeteners with rapid application. Due to the advantages of safety, stability and cost, sucralose and acesulfame are widely used in beverages. From the perspective of market competition, ansemi and sucralose have already become the world’s leading enterprises. Jinhe industry is the world’s leading enterprise in the production of ansemi and sucralose. Its ansemi production capacity is 12000 tons, and its global market share is more than 60%. Sucralose production capacity is 4000 tons / year, ranking second in the world. Therefore, these two kinds of sweeteners have great competitive pressure for start-ups.

The sweetness of neotame is 6000-1000 times that of sucrose. As a super sweetener, it needs to be diluted in solution before it can be used. Therefore, it is not mature in the application level, has not been used on a large scale, and is in the import period. The production of neotame in China is still in its infancy, and this new sweetener deserves attention.
Natural sweetener
Natural sweeteners have obvious advantages in safety. Stevioside and Mogroside have good properties in cost, taste and stability. From the perspective of market competition pattern, stevioside has already been a leading enterprise: Longjing health technology has an annual production capacity of 4000 tons, accounting for 40% of the world; Prosecco, Shengren pharmaceutical and other enterprises have a production capacity of more than 1000 tons. In addition, Jinhe industry also entered the track.

The national production capacity of Mogroside in 2019 is about 1050 tons, among which the production capacity of Huacheng biology, Giffords, Rhine biology and green vine biology is 850 tons. The overall output of the track is small, and Huacheng biology has the highest market share. There are market opportunities, so it is recommended to pay attention to them.

Functional glycols
As a low sweetener, the sweetness of functional sugar alcohol is usually lower than that of sucrose, so the cost per unit sweetness is higher, and it is usually used together with high sweeteners. In addition to the high cost, it has good performance in safety, taste and stability. From the market situation, xylitol, erythritol and isomaltitol all have leading enterprises in China, and they are optimistic about the start-up opportunities of maltitol, sorbitol, lactose alcohol and other enterprises with absolute advantages.

Generally speaking, with the increasing pursuit of taste and health, natural sweeteners and functional alcohol sweeteners will usher in development opportunities, and focus on the emerging sweetener categories that have not yet emerged as leading enterprises.

2C sugar consumer goods entrepreneurship and investment opportunities

For C-end consumers, the direct edible sugar consumer goods can be divided into two categories: one is candy as leisure snacks, the other is sugar as seasoning. Therefore, we analyze the entrepreneurial and investment opportunities of sugar consumer goods from the perspective of snack and seasoning.

1. Sugar consumer goods as leisure snacks

Let’s take a look at the current development status of China’s candy category.
Candy industry has low threshold, low technical difficulty, high degree of standardization and no special requirements for logistics. Therefore, candy, as the most basic consumer category in leisure snacks, takes the lead in development.

With the reform and opening up and attracting investment, many foreign brands have entered the domestic market in the 1990s, such as Wangwang, Mars, Nestle, etc. at present, China’s candy industry is mainly dominated by foreign capital. China’s candy market Cr5 is 30.4%, Japan’s and the United States’ Cr5 are 41.5% and 46.1% respectively, which has a small gap with Japan and the United States. In addition, compared with baking and salty snacks, China’s candy market concentration is much higher than the two sub industries. At present, the market structure of China’s candy industry is stable, and foreign capital has obvious brand advantages in the candy industry.
In terms of market size and growth, Tangqiao accounts for 12% of the income of leisure food segment, which is the second largest segment after bakery pastry (24%). The stock market is large, but the growth rate is slow in recent years. According to Frost & Sullivan’s calculation, the CAGR of Tangqiao in 2013-2018 is only 1.1%, far lower than 11.8% of that of the whole leisure food industry.

We believe that the market concentration of candy industry is high, foreign brands have significant advantages, the main consumption scenes of traditional candy are wedding and traditional festivals, and the market development space in work, leisure and other scenes will continue to narrow. The threshold of candy production is low, and the traditional sugar free candy products are more suitable for large enterprises as an extension of product line, not suitable for start-ups to enter this category.

But the market space of candy itself is considerable. As one of the important sweets, people’s own needs exist. To find out the specific needs of the subdivided population, there is a great development space for new healthy sugar free candy. In the candy consumption for consumers, we think that there are two kinds of demand segments worthy of attention: one is healthy candy snacks for children; the other is functional candy for urban white-collar workers.
According to cbndata’s big consumption data, the growth rate of functional snacks and children’s snacks is much higher than the overall growth rate of snacks.
➀ sugar free snacks for children
In the past, there was no special concept of children’s snacks. With the millennials becoming parents and the improvement of their economic level, people’s consumption demand is constantly divided. In May 2020, China non-staple food circulation association issued the group standard of general requirements for children’s snacks. As the first group standard on “children’s snacks” in China, the concept of “children’s snacks” is formally defined, that is, food suitable for children aged 3-12, which is used to supplement energy, balance nutrition or increase water, and can relax, relax and have a pleasant mood outside the dinner.

The parents of 80 / 90 generation are aware of health, and they are low sensitive to price, and pay attention to brand professionalism and product quality. On the other hand, the “Chinese children and adolescents snack guide” proposed to add less sugar, salt and oil, and required to specify the limits of sodium chloride, sucrose and fat. Sugar free healthy snacks for children in the future is an important development direction.

Consumers have a high demand for safety when choosing children’s snacks, so they pay more attention to the brand. At present, traditional snack brands and Internet snack brands such as three squirrels and liangpinpu have launched healthy children’s snack brands one after another. These enterprises have obvious brand advantages. But at present, there is no leading brand for children’s healthy snacks in China. There is still a lot of room for development for new brands to find their own categories and selling points.
➁ functional candy for urban white collar workers
Hair loss / hair loss, vision loss, obesity / weight gain and other problems are the three major health problems that perplex the post-90s. More than 90% of the post-90s have health awareness, indicating the rising health needs and health awareness of the younger generation. Functional candy can improve some functions of the body. It combines candy with health care products that are not delicious or convenient to eat, and meets the needs of the young generation for health care and convenience.

At present, the main types of functional candy in the domestic candy market include: vitamin candy, sugar free chewing gum, mint candy, throat candy, etc. many of these functional candy manufacturers are well-known candy brand enterprises or health care brands, such as Yake V9, Tomson Beijian and golden throat Houbao. But in the younger generation, these enterprises have the problem of brand aging, which is not “cool”, and these enterprises have not launched popular functional candy for the time being, so there are still great development opportunities for start-ups.

There are two directions for startups to enter the market with functional sugars. One is for young consumers, the other is for the nourishing needs of female users.

  • It is a kind of health food for young consumers, such as refreshing, beauty and so on. For example, buffx, a functional food, aims at young users aged 18-30 and introduces functional soft sweets such as pressure relief and sleep aid, eye moistening and eye protection, and daily immunity.
  • Functional brown sugar and black sugar products with tonic and no chemical filtration as selling points for women’s needs. For example, yungeng Wuzuo, a brand of brown sugar for women with dysmenorrhea, adopts the brown sugar production technology of “no chemical addition, physical filtration + accurate subsection boiling”. It is boiled with pure sugarcane, and does not contain white granulated sugar. It is sweet but not greasy. It can be chewed and eaten conveniently.

2. Sugars as condiments

Another C-terminal consumption mode of sugar is as table sugar condiment. From the perspective of condiment segmentation in China, the proportion of sugar is out of the top 7, no matter according to the factory or retail port. According to the factory caliber, cooking wine was the seventh condiment, accounting for 3.1%; according to the retail sales amount, monosodium glutamate was the seventh condiment, accounting for 3%. It can be inferred that sugar accounts for a very low proportion in China’s condiments.
From the perspective of the proportion of channels, the proportion of condiment consumption in catering channels has been increasing. In 2018, the consumption of condiments in catering channels was nearly 30% more than that in family channels, and the condiment intake of residents eating out was 1.6 times that of family cooking. The proportion of condiment consumption in catering channels increased from 51% in 2004 to 56% in 2018; the increment of consumption in catering channels compared with household consumption increased from 3.79% in 2004 to 26% in 2018. It shows that the importance of catering channels in condiment sales is increasing, while the proportion of sugar itself is very low, and the proportion of consumption in family channels may be further narrowed in the future.

Sugar as a seasoning agent is not as wide as soy sauce, vinegar and so on. Therefore, sugar condiments in the consumer retail market development space is small. However, with the increase of consumers’ demand for sugar free and reduced sugar, it will be transmitted to the catering scene, which forces the growth of the application of sugar substitute sweeteners in restaurants. There is a certain development space for sugar substitute sweeteners in small b-end catering scene.
In recent years, desserts such as manual baking and ready-made drinks such as coffee and tea have developed rapidly, and the scale of the industry is 100 billion. According to the white paper on new tea drinks published by Naixue’s tea, nearly 70% of the customers who buy new tea drinks choose to reduce the sugar content; the first ingredient is 0 cal sugar, which shows the consumers’ awareness and demand of reducing sugar. The demand for sugar free condiments in these restaurants needs to be further released. Sugar flavoring enterprises can take the small b-end catering chain as the main expansion channel, and have more potential and more space to sink in tea shops, coffee shops, offline baking and other fields.

Finally, 30000 capital is optimistic about the following three directions of sweeteners and sugars

1. Sweeteners as food additives for b-end food and beverage enterprises. Sugar is one of the important food additives for food and beverage manufacturers. The trend of non saccharification in the consumer side will force the upstream food and beverage manufacturers to speed up the substitution of sweeteners for sucrose. The market demand for sweeteners needs to be released. Focus on emerging, niche and scattered sweetener markets, such as neotame, maltitol, lactose alcohol, etc.

2. Functional candy for urban white-collar workers. Work pressure, fast pace of life, young people’s health needs and awareness rise, as the main force of the workplace has economic foundation. At present, there is no health care candy brand aiming at the younger generation with absolute market advantage.

3. Sugar substitutes for small b-end chain restaurants. With the rapid development of hand baked desserts, coffee, tea and other ready-made drinks, the scale of the industry is 100 billion, and consumers have a significant demand for sugar free and sugar reducing ready-made food.
Author: Rou Jia; source: sanwanshipin, reprint authorized. Joining the community: Cherry (wechat: 15240428449); business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246). Recommended reading children’s snacks, vinegar drink, cherry fashion trend, female tea brand, new trend of dairy products, high-tech restaurant, vegetable protein drink, NMN, takeout packaging brand, a secret selection column, a week’s hot news, innovation interview, lingting, new Xiu brand, trend insight, packaging outpost fbic 2021

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