The fact that diabetes is the second most common disease in our nation (after only China) shows that Indians love to indulge their sweet taste, often at the expense of their health as well. For such a population, the availability of natural sweeteners that don't ruin one's health is a blessing. However, because there were few alternatives and a distinctive aftertaste that used to ruin the sweet pleasure, their adoption might have been gradual. The market currently offers more recent natural sweetener options, thus things for Indians are about to get exciting.
Let's begin with comprehending the many sweeteners available on the Indian market.
Overview of the Indian Sweetener Industry
According to industry estimations, the market for tabletop sweeteners in India in March 2022 was estimated to be worth over USD 60 million, with a CAGR of 8–10%. Aspartame, sucralose, and stevia are three of the main groups that make up the market. Monkfruit was authorised as a category after 2021. Due to its inexpensive cost and widespread availability, Aspartame is leading the category and making up close to 65% of the market, followed by Sucralose (30%) and Stevia (5%).
The benefits of natural sweeteners and how they differ from chemical ones
Artificial sweeteners are calorie-free or very low-calorie sugar alternatives created from chemicals. Natural sweeteners can be produced from a variety of plants, fruits, and trees.
Aspartame, Sucralose, Acesulfame K, Saccharin, and Xylitol are common artificial sweeteners. The natural sweeteners Stevia, Erythritol, Xylitol, Yacon syrup, and Monk fruit sweetener are a few examples.
The health benefits of artificial sweeteners are debatable, and they can leave a bad aftertaste. With the exception of monkfruit, the majority of other natural sweeteners, including Stevia, have a distinctive aftertaste that discourages long-term usage.
The primary sweet-tasting molecules in natural sweeteners are fructose and sugar alcohols. Amino acids, peptides, and sugar alcohols are the primary sweet-tasting substances found in artificial sweeteners. So even natural sweeteners used in excess can lead to weight gain. Again, the sweetness of monkfruit comes from beneficial molecules called mogrosides, an antioxidant, not fructose or sucrose, giving it an advantage over other sweeteners in this area. The extract has no calories or carbs, has no effect on blood glucose levels, and won't make you gain weight because the sweetness doesn't come from sugar.
Natural sweeteners are more expensive than artificial sweeteners from a cost perspective since they have more positive health effects.
How natural sweeteners are perceived by Indians
Indian consumers and the food industry are becoming more interested in natural foods as the populace becomes more conscious of and involved in what it eats. Consumers are rapidly becoming more conscious of natural ingredients, and the food sector has been significantly impacted by the growing importance of naturalness among consumers. It's probable that many consumers will reject food goods that they don't think are natural. Because customers are more concerned with their health, the demand for zero-calorie and naturally produced sweeteners has increased significantly over the past ten years.
Due to the availability of monkfruit sweetener in the Indian market, sugar addicts there now have a way to satiate their desires without sacrificing their wellbeing or the calibre of their experience. India has already started the process of domestically cultivating this rare fruit in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu Valley. In order for the benefits of monkfruit to be widely known and have an impact on the health of sweet-toothed Indians, commercial cultivation of the fruit is essential.