Overcapacity of high intensity sweeteners to get eased in China

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The overcapacity of China’s high intensity sweeteners (HIS) may get eased due to the sugar tax policies made or considered by some countries, according to CCM’s research

A successful case

In 2014, Mexico implemented a policy of 10% tax increase on sugary beverages as a way to cut down on the country’s growing obesity epidemic.

Since Mexico implemented the policy, the first year alone saw a fall in the average sales of taxed sugary drinks by 6%. This reduction increased over the year to reach 12% by Dec. 2014, according to British Medical Journal.

For sugary beverages producers, they have to find some alternatives to replace sugar while maintaining the sweetness. So they might turn to high intensity sweeteners, which are ideal substitutes for sugar and starch sugar of high sugar content and high calorie.

High-intensity sweeteners are commonly used as sugar substitutes or sugar alternatives because they are many times sweeter than sugar but contribute only a few to no calories when added to foods, according to CCM’s research.

In 2015, the combined export volume of 2 HIS (aspartame and sucralose) from China to Mexico increased largely, by 500% YoY to over 900 tonnes, according to Sweeteners China News, CCM.

From this point of view, China, as a large sweetener-producing country, will have opportunities to ease the domestic HIS overcapacity, if countries having great demand in succession collect sugar taxes.

Other countries’ policies

Recently, similar policies can be seen in other countries.

The UK

A new sugar tax on the soft drinks industry will be introduced in the UK, the chancellor Mr. Osborne has announced as he unveiled his Budget in March 2016. The move has been hailed by campaigners as a significant step in the fight against child obesity.

There will be two bands – one for total sugar content above 5g per 100 millilitres and a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8g per 100 millilitres.

Pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks will be excluded and the smallest producers will have an exemption from the scheme, according to BBC News.


Thailand’s National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) voted on 26 April, 2016 to propose the tax to the country’s government, aiming to reduce excessive sugar intake of the public.

Two rates of the excise tax were proposed based on different sugar levels. Drinks with more than 6g to 10g per 100ml of sugar would be subject to a rate that would raise their retail prices by at least 20%. Those with more than 10g of sugar would see their prices at least 25%, according to Bangkok Post.

Besides, other Asian countries like Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, also intend to take similar policies.

High intensity sweeteners in China

China is a large sweetener-producing country and faces overcapacity. The products include aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, etc.

Take China’s aspartame industry as an example, since 2011, China’s aspartame industry has been developing rapidly. According to CCM’s research, its production capacity was 23,050 t/a (vs. output< 14,000 tonnes) in 2011, however to 32,500 t/a (vs. output> 19,000 tonnes) in 2015, according to CCM’s research.

Regarding the exports, it significantly showed rises in volume and falls in price. According to China Customs, the export volume surpassed 17,000 tonnes in 2015, up by 47% over 2011 (=11,580 tonnes), and meanwhile the export price was USD11.23/kg, down by 23% over 2011 (=USD14.67/kg).

The opportunity for HIS in China

The consumption of HIS is supposed to enlarge in the future as more and more countries intend to make the policy of sugar tax. Among the top 10 export destinations of aspartame in China in 2015, several of them are carrying up or considering the sugar tax policy.

The top 10 export destinations of aspartame in China in 2015

CCM thinks that the overcapacity of HIS industry in China may get eased as some countries intend to cut down the sugar consumption by levying sugar taxes.

For more information about CCM, visit www.cnchemicals.com

Source: Asia Food Journal