As per the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity and overweight conditions in people have resulted in about 44% of diabetes, 7–41% of certain cancers, and 23% of ischaemic heart disease, worldwide. Another disturbing figure released by the WHO shows that around 42 million preschool children were overweight in 2013. Such alarming instances of obesity and overweight issues that often result in chronic maladies such as diabetes have been the single-most important driver of demand in the global low-calorie food market.
Other factors such as a shift towards a sedentary lifestyle on account of work pressure and the rising population of health conscious people too have stimulated demand for low-calorie food having crucial health benefits. A factor restraining the market’s growth is the high cost of such products, which somewhat hinders their quick offtake. The global market for low-calorie food was worth US$7.419 bn in 2013. Some of the big names operating in the market are Nestle S.A., PepsiCo Inc., Ajinomoto Co., Inc., the Coca-Cola Company, Groupe Danone, Bernard Food Industries, Inc., and Cargill, Inc.
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Asia Pacific to Clock Maximum Growth Rate due to Large Diabetic Population
Geographically, the global market for low-calorie food can be segmented into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, and the Rest of the World. The U.S. in North America and the U.K. in Europe account for the maximum number of obese people in the world. As a result their markets have raked in strong revenues so far. While North America dominates the global market for low-calorie food, Europe follows next with a substantial market share.
Sucralose Leads Market on Account of its Health Benefits
The global market for low-calorie food can be classified based on various parameters. Depending upon the type of product, for example, it can be classified into saccharin, stevia, cyclamate, aspartame, and sucralose. Among them, sucralose, which is a calorie-free artificial sweetener, is anticipated to outpace all other segments in terms of growth rate. It has already found wide application in a broad range of lower-calorie foods, including fizzy drinks, table top sweeteners, chewing gum, baking mixes, salad dressings, and breakfast cereals. This is because sucralose is mostly rejected by the body and the meagre 8% to 20% is drained through urine. In fact, the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) has declared sucralose to be completely safe for health after thorough research and studies.
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Besides sucralose, stevia too has been enjoying soaring popularity in the market due to the growing preference of consumers for natural products sans additives. Further, on account of being a cent percent natural sweetener, stevia is giving other high-intensity artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose a strong competition. Among the three artificial sweeteners, aspartame has found wide applications in different food products.
Application-wise, the market can be divided into food, beverages, healthcare, and tabletop. The use of low-calorie food products in the beverages sector is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 5.9% during the period between 2014 and 2019.