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The European market potential for stevia

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Demand for stevia from the European food industry is growing. Stevia is used mainly as a sweetener in food and drink products, but it is also used in health products because of its beneficial properties. Growth is driven by rising awareness of stevia, as well as consumer demand for healthy products.

1. Product description

Stevia rebaudiana, more commonly known as stevia refers to around 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family Asteraceae. Stevia is used as a sweetener and sugar replacer which is obtained from the green leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant species.

Stevia is native to subtropical and tropical regions in western North America to South America, in countries such as Brazil and Paraguay. This is because these regions have a humid and wet environment ideal for stevia cultivation. Stevia is also grown in several Asian countries, such as the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Stevia has been used for more than 1500 years by the Guaraní people of Brazil and Paraguay who use it as a sweetener in herbal teas. Recently, chemists have scientifically isolated stevia’s sweetening properties.

Stevia has various health properties, such as lowering blood glucose and blood pressure levels. Stevia is also recognised as having anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and anti-diarrheal properties. Stevia also has zero calories, making it popular for use in food and beverage products.

Stevia can be used as a powder, a liquid or as a leaf. The most common form of stevia is liquid. A growing number of liquid table top sweeteners in Europe are using stevia. The second most common form is powder. It is expected that the share of powdered stevia will increase in the future because of growing applications in the food and beverage industry. Most applications are in baked goods, dairy products, beverages, confectionery products and nutritional supplements.

Stevia leaf extract is traded under HS Code 2938909090, which refers to other glycosides, natural or reproduced by synthesis, and their salts, ethers, esters and other derivatives. Stevia leaf powder is traded under HS Code 12119099, which refers to plants and parts of plants (including seeds and fruits), of a kind used primarily in perfumery, in pharmacy or for insecticidal, fungicidal or similar purpose, fresh or dried, whether or not cut, crushed or powdered - Other. This report examines stevia applications in the European natural food industry.

Commercially available stevia extracts vary in composition with respect to the ratios of the steviol glycosides and other constituents. This is because the extract contains at least ten steviol glycosides in different concentrations. These include:

  • Stevioside
  • Steviolbioside
  • Rubusoside
  • Dulcoside A
  • Rebaudioside A
  • Rebaudioside B
  • Rebaudioside C
  • Rebaudioside D
  • Rebaudioside E
  • Rebaudioside F

These steviol glycosides differ in their sweetening power, taste and molecular structure. Stevioside is the largest part of the steviol glycosides in the plant. Stevioside and Rebaudioside A are responsible for the sweet taste of stevia extract.

Figure 1: Examples of stevia products on the European market

Examples of stevia products

Source: Various

Tips:

  • Familiarise yourself with the benefits and nutritional profile of stevia. Use scientific sources as this is important when approaching European buyers. Use references to scientific sources in your marketing material. For instance, see websites such as NCBI.
  • Inform buyers about your stevia’s benefits and nutritional profile because these are its key selling points on the European market. Display this information on your company website and marketing materials.

2. What makes Europe an interesting market for stevia?

The European food and drink market offers export opportunities for stevia suppliers in developing countries. Demand is driven by rising consumer demand for healthier and natural food products. Regulatory changes in the EU also stimulate demand for stevia in Europe.

The European food and drink market is one of the largest in the world. Figure 2 shows the output from the European food and drink industry. It shows that the industry has grown each year from 2012 to 2018, generating over EUR 1.2 trillion in 2018.

Natural sweeteners are increasingly used in place of sugar in food and beverage products. According to the 2020 New Nutrition Business Survey, two thirds of European consumers are trying to lower their sugar intake. In addition, research has also found that European consumers are increasingly looking for products with no added sugars.

Consumer awareness of stevia is rising in European consumers, whilst applications in food and drink products are widening. European consumers are increasingly looking for healthier and natural products. As such, Europe has the second largest market for organic products in the world. The European organic food market grew at a healthy rate from 2014-2018, reaching over EUR 45 billion as shown in Figure 3. Healthy growth is expected to continue in the coming years.

The European sweeteners market was worth USD 11.5 billion in 2017. The market is forecast to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 1.7 percent to reach USD 13 billion in 2023. The market is growing in value partly because of growing demand for natural sweeteners.

Stevia is one of the most popular natural sweeteners. In 2018 the European market for stevia reached USD 150.8 million. The market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 9.15 percent, reaching USD 233.6 million in 2023. The European stevia market grew substantially after the EU approved the use of stevia in November 2011. The global stevia market was worth USD 539 Million in 2019 and is expected to grow to 900 million USD by 2025, according to the IMARC group.

The major drivers of growth in the stevia market are rising consumer demand for healthier and natural products, increasing rates of obesity and diabetes in Europe, and growing popularity of flavoured soft drinks.

After the approval of stevia extracts for use in the European Union in November 2011, the market has grown rapidly. However, the market relies on imports of stevia leaves to produce stevia-based products. It has zero calories and a high protein content, making it a favoured ingredient in the healthy drinks and sports nutrition product markets. Figure 4 shows imports of other glycosides, natural or reproduced by synthesis, and their salts, ethers, esters and other derivatives with an HS Code 29389090.

Figure 4 and figure 5 show imports of other glycosides, natural or reproduced by synthesis, and their salts, ethers, esters and other derivatives with an HS code 29389090 under which stevia extract is usually traded, between 2015-2019. This shows that there was an increase in volume (figure 4) and value (figure 5) into Europe from extra-EU trade between 2015 and 2019. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Rising awareness of stevia and the growing health awareness among consumers is increasing demand for alternative sweeteners. Note, this product category also includes glycosides other than stevia.

In October 2016, an amendment to the EU food additives regulation removed a rule whereby stevia blends were required to contain at least 75 percent stevioside or reb A. This move also added reb M to the list of permitted steviol glycosides. It also enabled food and beverage manufacturers to use a combination of the 11 approved steviol glycosides in any proportions in its products. This amendment allows further sugar reductions in food and beverage formulations and improvements in taste.

According to industry sources, demand for stevia is expected to continue growing in the foreseeable future. Awareness of stevia is increasing in companies; for example, Pepsi and Coca-Cola have started using stevia as a sweetener in their soft drinks. Other food and drink manufacturers are also using stevia in products such as yoghurts, confectionary, and processed products like ketchup. However, a major threat comes from sweeteners with similar properties, such as barley malts, maple syrup, agave juice and coconut sugar.

Suppliers of stevia in developing countries should target the European market as it offers a wide range of opportunities for natural sweeteners. It is expected that demand for stevia will continue to rise over the forecast period as more food and beverage companies use alternative sweeteners. The easing of EU regulations, rising consumer demand for healthy and natural food products, and growing consumer awareness of stevia in Europe are key drivers.

Tips:

3. Which European countries offer most opportunities for stevia?

France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands are considered the most promising country markets for stevia exporters in developing countries. These countries have the biggest food and drink industries and their consumers have high awareness of natural sweeteners. France and Spain grow stevia in their countries.

Table 1: Leading country markets for stevia in Europe

Country

Food and Drink Market, 2018 bnEUR

% Change 2017-2018

Organic Food and Drink Market, 2018 bnEUR

% Growth 2017-2018

Market Players

France

213.1

-6.6%

10

+15%

Stevia Natura, Provia Sud, STEVIA SAS, Firmalis, Oviatis

Germany

211.1

+3.5%

10.9

+5%

Denk Ingredients, Stevia Group, Steviavida, Organic Stevia GmbH

Italy

141.3

+2%

3.5

+11%

Ambrogioitalia Srl, Moralco

The UK

120

+0.7%

2.5

+5%

Tate & Lyle, Prinova

Spain

116.9

-2%

2.1

12%

Mercostevia, Azucares Prieto

The Netherlands

76.2

-0.7%

1.2

+6%

Cargill, Hyet Sweet

Source: Food and Drink Europe/FIBL/Ecovia Intelligence
Note: All figures are rounded

In 2019, France, Spain, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy were the leading importers of glycosides, natural or reproduced by synthesis, and their salts, ethers, esters and other derivatives. This is shown in figure 6.

Table 2 shows the leading importing markets of other glycosides, natural or reproduced by synthesis, and their salts, ethers, esters and other derivatives, under which stevia is usually traded, to Europe from 2015-2019.

Table 2: Leading importers of HS code 29389090, under which stevia is usually traded, 2015-2019

2019

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2015-2019)

 mEUR

% Change Value (2015-2019)

Exporters

Important Market Players

France

3.7

102%

67.0

69%

China (64.9%), Italy (22.2%), Germany (3.7%)

Stevia Natura, Provia Sud, STEVIA SAS, Firmalis, Oviatis 

Spain

1.2

9%

34.1

12%

China (86.0%), France (9.0%), Israel (1.6%)

Mercostevia, Azucares Prieto 

Germany

0.9

66%

25.2

23%

Sweden (59.2%), China (23.0%), France (3.1%)

Denk Ingredients, Stevia Group, Steviavida, Organic Stevia GmbH

United Kingdom

0.6

51%

29.8

66%

Malaysia (42.2%), China (24.6%), Germany (11.7%), Thailand (8.6%)

Tate & Lyle, Prinova

Netherlands

0.3

233%

15.1

75%

China (47.3%), Sweden (25.3%), Germany (6.8%)

Cargill, Hyet Sweet

Italy

0.26

42%

11.3

-86%

France (44.4%), China (22.6%), Germany (9.3%)

Ambrogioitalia Srl, Moralco

Source: Eurostat

France

France is the leading importer of HS code 29389090,, under which stevia is usually traded, in Europe. Table 2 shows that French imports increased by volume and value between 2015 and 2019. Over this period the volume of imports increased by 102 percent to nearly 37,000 tonnes in 2019. The value of imports increased by 69 percent over the same period to almost EUR 67 million in 2019. Nearly 70 percent of imports is from extra-EU trade; China was the largest exporter to France in 2019.

According to Food and Drink Europe, France had the largest food and drink market in terms of turnover in 2018. France also holds a strong position on the European stevia market since the country approved the use of stevia sweeteners, particularly the Reb A strain from 2009 onwards. This therefore presents an opportunity for stevia suppliers in developing countries. Stevia Natura is a leading stevia producer in France. Provia Sud and STEVIA SAS are other domestic producers of stevia. Firmalis is an important trader of stevia.

France has the second-largest organic food and drink market in Europe. The demand for organic products has been increasing over the last decade. Growth is expected to continue in the near future. Market growth is stimulating demand for organic stevia since many organic food and drink companies tend to use sugar alternatives. Consumers who buy organic products are health-conscious and seek natural products. The French company Oviatis supplies organic stevia extracts and leaves.

French demand for stevia is expected to increase further in the future. Growth is driven by rising consumer demand for healthier and more natural food and drink products. Suppliers of stevia in developing countries should therefore target the French market as it offers a lot of opportunities. This market is also attractive for organic stevia suppliers.

Spain

Spain was the second-largest importer of HS code 29389090, under which stevia is usually traded, in Europe in 2019. Between 2015 and 2019, Spanish imports increased in both volume and value. During this period the volume of imports increased by 9 percent to almost 12,000 tonnes in 2019. Over the same period the value of imports increased by 12 percent to over EUR 34.1 million in 2019. Extra-EU trade accounted for 87.7 percent of Spanish imports in 2019, an increase of 2.3 percent from 2015. China was the largest exporter to Spain in 2019.

Spain has the fifth-largest food and drink market in Europe. The organic food and drink market in Spain is growing each year. There is also some production of stevia in Spain. Leading importers of stevia include Mercostevia and Azucares Prieto.

Demand for stevia in the Spanish market is expected to grow. The major drivers are rising consumer awareness and growing demand for healthier and more natural food and drink products. Thus, exporters of stevia from developing countries should target the Spanish market.

Germany

In 2019, Germany was the third largest importer of HS code 29389090, under which stevia is usually traded, in Europe. The volume and value of German imports increased at a double-digit rate between 2015 and 2019. Over this period, the volume of imports increased by 66 percent to reach nearly 9,000 tonnes. The value of imports increased by 23 percent over this period to reach almost EUR 25.2 million. Extra-EU trade accounted for 29.2 percent of German imports in 2019, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2015.

According to Food and Drink Europe, in 2018 Germany has the second-largest food and drink market in Europe in terms of turnover. Germany has the largest market for food sweeteners and that market is expected to increase from 2020 to 2025. Stevia is the largest and fastest growing segment in the food sweetener market.

Major importers of stevia in Germany include Denk Ingredients and Stevia Group. There are also some suppliers of stevia extracts in Germany, such as Steviavida. Some of the mainstream food and drink companies using stevia in their formulations include Dr. August Oetker Nahrugsmittel KG, Naturbursche Getranke GmbH, Hengstenber GmbH and Fritz-kola GmbH.

The German organic food market is the largest in Europe. There is also growing demand for organic stevia. Organic Stevia GmbH is a leading supplier of organic stevia. In Germany, stevia can be purchased at mainstream retailers such as Rewe and Edeka. Organic stevia products are usually found at specialist retailers. German consumers have very high awareness and are familiar with the sweetener. Figure 7 shows that around half of German consumers have used stevia or have eaten a product containing stevia.

Suppliers of stevia from developing countries should target the German market as demand is expected to increase further. German consumers are aware of stevia and are seeking natural and high-quality food and drink products. German consumers are also environmentally conscious and since the use of stevia can reduce the environmental footprint of finished products, its use is likely to increase. Exporters of organic stevia should consider targeting the German market because it has the largest organic food market in Europe.

The United Kingdom

The UK was the fourth largest importer of HS code 29389090, under which stevia is usually traded, in Europe in 2019. Between 2015 and 2019 the volume and value of UK imports increased by double-digits. Over this period, the volume of imports increased by 51 percent to reach around 6,000 tonnes. The value of imports increased by 66 percent over the period to reach EUR 29.8 million in 2019. Extra-EU trade accounted for nearly 79.1 percent of UK imports in 2019, an increase of 29.3 percent from 2015. Malaysia was the largest exporter to the UK in 2019.

The UK has one of the largest consumer markets in Europe. According to Food and Drink Europe,  the UK food and beverage sector generated about EUR 120 billion in revenue in 2018. The UK also has a strong food processing sector, having over 10,700 food and drink manufacturers. The UK market for organic food and drink is also growing. Rising consumer awareness and growing demand for natural and healthier food and drink products are major drivers. There is expected to be high demand for alternative sweeteners, such as stevia, in the future.

The UK is home to the headquarters of major European stevia supplier Tate & Lyle. The company has a portfolio of stevia-derived food additives. In 2019, Tate & Lyle launched a project in partnership with Sweet Green Fields and Earthwatch to assess the sustainability of its stevia supply chain. Another stevia importer is Prinova. Some of the major mainstream retailers in the UK, such as Tesco, are marketing stevia under their private labels.

Demand for stevia in the UK is also driven by regulations. In 2018, the UK government introduced its so called “Sugar Tax” on soft drinks. It was introduced as a way to tackle childhood obesity. Around 50 percent of soft drinks manufacturers have reduced their sugar content because of this.

Brexit (Britain’s exit from the European Union) is disrupting supply chains for ingredients, such as stevia. It may take some time to renegotiate old and reach new trade deals with developing countries. Tariffs on goods imported into the UK may differ to those for European Union (EU) countries for HS code 29389090 under which stevia is usually traded in Europe. Thus, exporters of stevia in developing countries should use the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Market Access Map to see if different tariffs apply when exporting to the UK.

Exporters of stevia from developing countries should target buyers in the UK. Demand for stevia is driven by rising consumer awareness, and growing demand for natural and healthier products.

The Netherlands

In 2019 the Netherlands was the fifth-largest importer of HS code 29389090, under which stevia is usually traded, in Europe. Between 2015 and 2019, Dutch imports increased in both volume and value. Over this period, the volume of imports increased by 233 percent to reach almost 3,000 tonnes in 2019. Over the same period, the value of imports increased by 75 percent to reach EUR 15.1 million in 2019. Extra-EU trade accounted for 56.6 percent of Dutch imports in 2019, an increase of 6.3 percent from 2015. China was the leading exporter to the Netherlands in 2019.

The Netherlands is a significant entry point of raw materials into Europe. This is partly because most raw materials are re-exported to other European countries. The Netherlands also has some significant processors of stevia. It is expected that the growth trend will continue in the coming years.

The European headquarters of Cargill, a leading stevia extract manufacturer, is located in the Netherlands. The company supplies a wide portfolio of stevia extracts, including Truvia Stevia Leaf Extract and ViaTech Stevia Ingredients. In 2019, the Cargill-DSM joint venture Avansya started commercial production of EverSweet stevia sweetener. Van Wankum Ingredients is a leading importer of stevia in the Netherlands. The Chinese stevia company Hyet Sweet has its European headquarters in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is likely to remain an important country for imports of stevia from developing countries. Despite a relatively small food and drink sector, the Netherlands will remain an important entry point for raw materials into Europe. Thus, exporters of stevia should target buyers in the Netherlands.

Italy

Italy was the sixth-largest importer of HS code 29389090, under which stevia is usually traded, in Europe in 2019. Between 2015 and 2019, the volume of Italian imports increased by 42 percent to reach over 2,600 tonnes. However, over the same period the value of imports decreased by 86 percent. One reason for this is that other items are also traded under HS code 29389090. Extra-EU trade increased by 39.5 percent from 2015 to reach 61.8 percent in 2019.

The Italian food sweetener market has grown in recent years and is expected to continue growing until 2025. Italy has the third-largest food and beverage market in Europe. Some of the major suppliers of stevia in Italy include Moralco.

Italy also has one of the largest markets for organic products, which is growing at a healthy pace. Italian consumers tend to seek high-quality natural products. In Italy, stevia products and sweeteners can be found at mainstream retailers. Organic stevia products are usually found at specialist retailers.

The Italian market offers good prospects for stevia exporters in developing countries. Organic certified stevia has good potential on the Italian market. Exporters of stevia should therefore target Italian buyers.

Tips:

  • Focus on Western European countries when exporting stevia as they usually have the largest consumer markets and a robust processing and manufacturing food and beverage industry. In addition, because supply chains of stevia are already established in Europe, awareness of stevia products is relatively high among European buyers.
  • Focus on stevia’s beneficial properties when approaching European buyers. For example, its low calorie content is a great selling point.
  • Be prepared to provide documents and marketing materials about beneficial properties of stevia as well as the sustainability and traceability of your stevia. Buyers can use this information as a selling point when approaching food and beverage companies.
  • Ensure that you market your stevia competitively as there is some production of stevia in France and Spain.
  • Use the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Market Access Map to see if tariffs apply for HS code 29389090 under which stevia is usually traded in Europe as per the European country you are exporting to. Note, as the UK has left the European Union (EU), the relevant tariffs may differ compared to EU countries.
  • Focus on creating long-term relationships with buyers. Larger buyers create partnerships with stevia producers. Be open to buyers visiting your facilities on a regular basis.

Along with innovation, the increasing demand for plant-based sweeteners and natural ingredients provides opportunities to exporters of stevia in developing countries. However, the growing trend towards local sourcing which is affecting stevia supply in the European market and the global COVID-19 pandemic pose challenges to stevia exporters in developing countries.

Increasing local supply of stevia

There is a growing trend towards local sourcing among European buyers and food manufacturers, a trend that is expected to continue. This therefore poses a challenge to exporters of stevia in developing countries. Lower costs associated with locally sourced ingredients is a reason for this. Another reason is that European consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of the products they buy. This can result in manufacturers sourcing regionally to reduce their environmental footprint.

It is estimated that about 72 percent of industrial buyers prefer to source locally. Sourcing locally offers food companies greater flexibility and control, and it can enable them to build relationships with their suppliers in their  region. It also allows better communication without any language and cultural barriers.

The French stevia company Stevial is an example of a company sourcing its raw materials as locally as possible. Although stevia is usually grown and processed in Asia and Latin America, the company sources from Southern Europe and North Africa. Most of its stevia is processed at its Stevia Natura facility in France. The company aims to source all of its stevia from Europe in the future. OVIATIS is another French company sourcing stevia locally. There is also stevia production in Spain; Biostevera is a Spanish company producing stevia.

To mitigate against this challenge exporters of stevia in developing countries should ensure their stevia can compete with European supply. One way to compete is by adopting organic and fair trade standards, and/or quality management standards such as International Organization (ISO) 2200:2018, 9001 certification and Food Safety Systems Certification (FSSC 2200). Adopting standards or certification is perceived as a sign of quality by European importers.

In addition, exporters should inform European buyers of certification they have and display this on their marketing materials and company website; this will help exporters compete with European stevia suppliers.

Figure 8: Examples of standards and certification

Examples of standards and certification

Source: Various 

Tips:

  • Consider getting certification for your stevia to make it more competitive. Sunrise Nutrachem Group is an example of an established company in a developing country that has ISO 9001 certification.
  • Read the CBI study Entering the European market for stevia for information about standards and certification for stevia as well as mandatory requirements to enter the European market.

Rising demand for plant-based sweeteners and natural ingredients offers opportunities

There is a growing demand for plant-based and natural sweeteners in the European market, a trend that is expected to continue. This presents an opportunity to exporters of stevia in developing countries. One factor behind this is the rising levels of obesity and diabetes in Europe. Food and beverage companies are moving to alternative sweeteners to reduce the calorific content without affecting taste.

Another driver behind growing demand for plant-based and natural sweeteners is that consumers are seeking sustainably produced sweeteners. According to industry sources, stevia is about 5 times more efficient to grow than sugar. Since stevia is usually used as an extract, less of it is required to sweeten products. Stevia production also requires less land, water and energy.

In their study PureCircle showed that the carbon footprint of stevia was 79 percent lower than high fructose corn syrup, 55 percent lower than beet sugar, and 29 percent lower than cane sugar. The same study showed that the water footprint of stevia leaf extract was about 96 percent lower than that of cane sugar, 94 percent lower than high fructose corn syrup, and 92 percent lower than beet sugar.

To capitalise on this opportunity, exporters of stevia from developing countries should take note of the health and environmental benefits of stevia and display this on their company website and marketing materials. Exporters should also inform European buyers of these benefits, because it makes them more appealing to do business with.

Tip:

  • Educate yourself on how to increase the sustainability of your stevia production. For example, you can do this by reading this article on sustainable agriculture which provides information on methods of sustainable agriculture as well as its benefits.

Innovation provides opportunities

In recent years, there have been innovations involving stevia, resulting in many new food and beverage product launches. According to Mintel, new product launches with stevia rose by 26 percent in the European market in 2018. Product innovations provide opportunities to exporters of stevia in developing countries.

Increasing demand for natural and healthier products is driving demand for food and beverage products containing stevia. Thus, food and beverage companies are innovating to satisfy changing consumer demand for ‘healthier’ alternatives to traditional sugars, a trend expected to continue. Stevia is considered to be ‘healthier’ than traditional sugars, making it attractive to food and beverage companies. Prominent food and beverage companies launching products containing stevia include The Coca-Cola Co, Danone Group, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever and Ricola.

There has been a lot of innovation in the stevia sector. Tate & Lyle, a leading European sugar company, launched Reb M stevia sweetener TASTEVA®.  This sweetener is targeted at consumers seeking natural alternatives to traditional sugars. Such innovation has resulted in the food and beverages sector using new and innovative forms of stevia in their products. In October 2020, sweetener manufacturer SweetGen announced the commercial production of Bestevia® Reb I. This is a new type of glycoside produced from the stevia leaf.

To capitalise on this opportunity, exporters of stevia from developing countries should familiarise themselves with stevia’s beneficial properties as well as the advantages it offers to the food and drink industry; this is a major factor behind stevia innovation. Examples include stevia’s sweetening properties as well as the fact that it contains zero calories.

Following this, exporters should inform European buyers about their stevia’s beneficial properties and advantages when approaching them. They should also display this information on their company website and marketing materials. Doing so makes stevia more appealing to European buyers.

Tips:

  • Clearly inform European buyers about stevia’s beneficial properties and advantages when approaching them as this is likely to increase your chances of entering the European market.
  • Keep up-to-date with the innovation in the European food and beverage sector. Follow industry magazines such as FoodNavigator and NewFood Magazine. Doing this gives you a better understanding of what is happening in the sector before approaching European buyers. It also gives you credibility as buyers view this favourably.  
  • See the CBI Trends study for natural food additives. Here you can find more information trends present in the European food market and how to take advantage of them as well as preparing against them if they pose a risk.

COVID-19 creates challenges for exporters of stevia

The global coronavirus pandemic is creating many challenges for stevia exporters in developing countries. The challenges that exporters are currently facing are likely to remain for the foreseeable future, as different states and governments around the world attempt to tackle COVID-19 with various measures.

Lockdown and quarantine measures and import and export restrictions imposed by states and governments are key challenges for exporters because they disrupt supply chains. One European buyer of stevia stated in an interview “we have difficulties bringing raw materials during the COVID-19 period”.

Delayed orders and increasing delivery costs have been cited by European buyers of stevia as challenges that they are facing. Indeed, one European buyer of stevia stated in an interview “regarding the shipment… longer because of COVID-19” as well as when delivery is “via airfreight, then the transport costs are quite high”.

There are several ways exporters of stevia in developing countries can prepare for any challenges that result from the pandemic, as well as any associated risks. One way is to regularly check government websites and/or contact your local government/trade ministries to request information on emergency measures in place because of COVID-19 and for guidance on exporting. Exporters should also look at government websites of the countries they are exporting to and check their latest rules and guidance on imports.

Contacting freight and logistic companies to find out the latest transportation and freight procedures and prepare for them. Exporters need to adjust their businesses to meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping existing customers informed about their orders, as well as informing them of any possible delays is also advisable.

Tips:

  • Visit and review the information on the ITC Market Access Map’s COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures, which provides the latest information on trade measures imposed by states and governments globally. This will give you the latest information on restrictions in your country, as well as the country you are exporting to.
  • Carefully assess and factor in likely effects COVID-19 will have before agreeing terms with European buyers. Factors to consider include longer delivery times, unexpected waits and higher transport costs.

This study has been carried out on behalf of CBI by Ecovia Intelligence.

Please review our market information disclaimer.

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