Aspartame Banned? What Are The Best Aspartame Alternatives?

Aspartame Alternatives Natural Sweeteners

Aspartame Banned? What Are The Best Aspartame Alternatives?

On June 29, according to media reports, the International Agency for Cancer (IARC) under the World Health Organization may list aspartame as a “substance that may be carcinogenic to humans” in July. IARC may classify aspartame as a 2A or 2B carcinogen, of which 2A carcinogens (to avoid contact with them as much as possible), such as red meat. Class 2B carcinogens (no need to be overly nervous, only a large amount of exposure and prolonged exposure may increase cancer risk), such as mobile phone radiation.

After this news was reported, the public and industry all focused on this artificial non-saccharide sweetener 200 times sweeter than sucrose named Aspartame. The following questions are the most concerning.

  • Does Aspartame cause cancer?

In June 2023, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization analyzed the potential carcinogenic risks of sweeteners. The WHO IARC Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, a separate committee of WHO and the United Nations is updating the risk assessment of Aspartame, including its approved daily intake.

All survey results will be published on July 14, 2023.

So far, there’s not enough evidence that Aspartame causes cancer or doesn’t.

  • Is Aspartame dangerous to humans?

Aspartame has been approved for use in the United States for decades. Commonly found in cola, sprite, chewing gum, and other products. This sweetener has been reviewed by the FDA several times. The FDA says Aspartame is safe for the general population.

  • Is Aspartame banned?

Currently, this sweetener is still being sold normally and legally. Nutri Avenue will continue to pay attention to changes in its relevant policies and update everyone as soon as possible.

As one of the representatives of synthetic sweeteners, aspartame has been widely used in many beverages, snacks, and other fields, such as sugar-free Coca-Cola, Pepsi Sugar-free, and other ingredients have it. After the news broke, two domestic companies responded immediately.

  1. Yuanqi Forest stated that the company’s entire line of products does not contain aspartame.
  2. Nayuki’s Tea stated that in November 2022, Nayuki Tea announced that all products would use the upgraded natural sugar substitute “Moha fructose.”

At the same time, today, the stock prices of several natural sweetener production suppliers also rose by the limit. As of noon, Baolingbao, Rhine Bio, and Sanyuan Bio rose by more than 9%.

So how extensive is the application of aspartame? Which products may contain aspartame? What sweeteners will replace aspartame in the future?

How Widely Is Aspartame Sweetener Used?

What is aspartame?

Aspartame is a synthetic sweetener. The chemical formula is C14H18N2O5. And it composes of the amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid with methyl esters. When consumed, the methyl esters break down to methanol, which can be converted to formaldehyde. Entered the market in 1981 as a low-calorie sweetener.

Aspartame is a sweetener with high sweetness, non-deliquescence, no dental caries, and can be eaten by diabetics. It is low in calories and sweetness, so it is quickly applied in beverages, pharmaceutical products, and sugar-free chewing gum, mainly used to replace sucrose.

Application Status of Aspartame

At present, aspartame can be used in more than 90 countries and regions, including my country, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea. It has been applied in over 6,000 products, including the cola mentioned earlier and many other drinks. There are also sugar-free jellies, sugar-free chewing gum, sugar-free hard candies, and other low- or no-sugar products such as ketchup, condiments, medicines, and vitamins for children.

My country’s National Food Additive Standard GB2760-2014 stipulates the scope and dosage of aspartame. According to this standard, aspartame can be used in a total of 66 food categories in my country, including gum-based candies, candied fruit, desserts, yogurt, flavored drinks, frozen drinks, bread, canned fruit, puffed food, pickled vegetables, and even vinegar.

Aspartame Market Size

Although the scope of use of aspartame is relatively broad, the proportion of aspartame used in the market is not very high. According to the data of, my country’s current sweetener market is dominated by artificial sweeteners, including aspartame and acesulfame-K. From the market structure of artificial sweeteners, aspartame accounts for 12%.

According to QYR’s statistics and forecast, the global aspartame market sales will reach US$390 million in 2021, and it is expected to reach US$460 million in 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.1% (2022-2028).

In the upstream market, my country is the world’s main producing area of ​​aspartame. In 2021, the production capacity has reached 26,000 tons, accounting for 73% of the global scale. Therefore, if aspartame is listed by IARC as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in July, it will considerably impact domestic aspartame manufacturers.

However, numerous studies have revealed the health risks of synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame for decades. Whether from the perspective of market growth, health, or production capacity, the market decline of aspartame will be a trend in the long run. According to data from Sullivan, a market research agency, from 2015 to 2019, aspartame and acesulfame were widely used in China. However, due to the health problems of aspartame, the output gradually decreased, and the compound annual growth rate was -14.1%.

The decision of the WHO may further accelerate the substitution trend of aspartame, so which sweeteners have the potential to replace aspartame?

What Are The Best Aspartame Alternatives?

First, to be clear, synthetic sweeteners like aspartame have been controversial for a long time when it comes to their health. In recent years, with the application of natural sweeteners in the market, such as erythritol, Monkfruit sweetener, etc., market application trends and the application growth rate of the two major types of sweeteners, natural sweeteners have surpassed synthetic sweeteners.

So what will be a substitute for aspartame? The answer should be natural sweeteners.

Natural Monk Fruit Sweetener

Monk fruit sweetener is an extract of the Luo Han Guo fruit (Monk fruit). As mentioned earlier, Nayuki’s Tea has already used Monkfruit sweetener in all products, improving the market awareness of monk fruit sugar.

From the performance point of view, the sweetness of monk fruit sugar is 300 times that of sucrose. It also produces no calories, does not cause changes in blood sugar, and tastes closer to sucrose. However, Luo Han Guo has high requirements for the planting area, which leads to large-scale expansion in a short period, and a large and stable supply is a big challenge. Therefore, its cost is also higher than that of synthetic sweeteners.

At present, in China, the main manufacturers of Monk fruit sweeteners are Huacheng Biology, Rhine Biotechnology, Jifusi, Hunan Lvman, etc. Huacheng Biological and Rhine Biotech are breaking through the limitations of Luo Han Guo cultivation through breeding and planting technology. Among them, Rhine Bio has also partnered strategically with Jiangnan University on developing microbial synthesis technology for multiple components of natural sweeteners such as Mogroside. According to SPINS data, among the main sweeteners, monk fruit natural sugar will achieve a market growth rate of 20% in 2021, and the fast growth rate also confirms the favor of the consumer market.

Natural Stevia Sweetener

Stevia is a glycoside extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana. The application in overseas markets is growing very fast. Regarding performance, stevia also has the advantages of high sweetness and low calories. Its sweetness is 200-300 times that of sucrose, and its calories are only 1/300 of that of sucrose, and the human body will not absorb it after ingestion.

However, the after-bitterness of stevia is a major challenge, which is one of the reasons why it has not been widely used. Enterprises are also solving it through technical means. For example,

  • Rhine Biotech has developed steviol glycoside products without aftertaste through enzyme modification.
  • PureCircle uses breeding technology to produce stevia with a taste similar to sucrose.

Currently, many domestic companies deploy stevioside, including Chenguang Biology, Rhine Biotechnology, Haotian Pharmaceutical, and Pure Cyclone.

From a market perspective, Coca-Cola, Yuanqi Forest, and Uni-President (Xiao Ming) have all launched beverage products containing stevia before. But the heat did not exceed expectations. It means that the market application of stevia may have yet to be explored.

Natural L-Arabinose Sugar

Natural L-arabinose sweetener usually exists in the shell of fruits and whole grains as heteropolysaccharides. It has high acid/heat stability. The taste is very similar to sucrose, but the sweetness is about 50% of sucrose. L-Arabinose sugar is extracted from corn. As early as 2008, it was approved by our country as a new resource food, and its application range is all kinds of food but does not include infant food.

Compared with these sweeteners mentioned above, L-arabinose has the disadvantage of low sweetness. In recent years, some companies have launched products using this sweetener.

Natural D-Allulose Sweetener

Allulose is a rare sugar found in plants. It is 70% as sweet as sucrose and has only 0.4 calories per gram. It also does not raise blood sugar or insulin. At present, allulose has obtained regulatory approval in the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea, and other places.

In terms of performance, it is also a good alternative to aspartame sweetener. Especially in baking, many natural sweeteners have problems, such as not supporting Maillard’s reaction and texture. However, allulose can be a good substitute for sucrose in this field.

At present, in the global market, the growth rate of natural allulose sugar is very fast. According to a study by Allied Market Research, the allulose market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.1% to nearly $390 million by 2030.

In China, regulations have not yet approved D-allulose sweetener, which cannot be used now. But at the beginning of May 2023, D-psicose-3-epimerase, a very important enzyme preparation for the D-psicose production process, was granted regulatory status. It is expected that by the second half of 2023, the raw material will be approved as a new food raw material. At present, many enterprises are producing or are already laying out the production of D-psicose raw materials, such as Zhongda Hengyuan, Anhui Jinhe, Beijing Ruifen, Bailong Chuangyuan, etc.

Natural Erythritol Sweetener

Erythritol sweetener is the more mainstream choice in the current market.

Natural erythritol sugar exists in various foods, such as grapes, pears, watermelon, etc. The current erythritol raw materials mainly come from cornstarch sugar and corn for glucose production. After it enters the human body, it does not participate in the metabolism of sugar, hardly produces heat and causes changes in blood sugar, and has the characteristics of zero calories, zero sugar, and high tolerance.

Compared with the many sweeteners mentioned above, it is not difficult to conclude that erythritol is currently an ideal choice due to factors such as comprehensive performance, cost, stable supply chain, matching with consumer market demand, and regulatory approval. Therefore, after the help of Yuanqi Forest, the market demand for erythritol has grown rapidly. In 2020 alone, the domestic demand for erythritol has increased by 273%. Sullivan’s data predicts that the global demand for erythritol will be 173,000 tons in 2022, reaching 238,000 tons in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 22%.

However, due to the increase in demand, the production capacity of upstream raw materials for erythritol sweetener will expand by leaps and bounds from 2021 to 2022, which will also lead to a sharp decline in the price of erythritol. For the upstream market, it is necessary to continuously expand new application methods and directions to ensure profit margins.

In addition to erythritol, other sugar alcohol raw materials such as xylitol and maltitol can also replace aspartame to a certain extent.


In fact, for so many years, the game between synthetic sweeteners and natural sweeteners has never stopped. Sugar reduction has become a major trend throughout the food and beverage market. And it extends from beverages to more products, such as desserts and snacks. With the improvement of consumers’ awareness of various sweeteners, the popularity of natural sweeteners, and the industry’s development, artificial sweeteners’ competitiveness is constantly emerging. In the future, natural Sweeteners will occupy a larger market share.

As a professional and experienced raw ingredients supplier, Nutri Avenue is also considered the best sweetener supplier. Whether synthetic sweeteners or natural, Nutri Avenue can support you. Welcome to get a free quote to obtain high-quality sweeteners at wholesale price.

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