Allulose is a rare sugar that occurs naturally in some fruits and plants, such as figs, raisins, wheat, maple syrup, and molasses. It has 70% of the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar) but only 10% of the calories. It also has little to no impact on blood glucose or insulin levels, making it a potential alternative for people with diabetes and obesity. Moreover, allulose has some health benefits, such as improving insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar control, and enhancing antioxidant activity in the body.
However, allulose sweetener is not widely available in its natural form, as it is present in very small quantities in plant sources. Therefore, most of the allulose sold commercially is produced artificially by enzymatically converting corn, sugar beet, or other carbohydrates. This process can be costly and complex, posing some challenges for the allulose industry.
One of the challenges is the regulatory approval of allulose in different markets. While allulose is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), and also by Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and South Korea, it is not yet approved in Canada or Europe. In these regions, allulose is considered a novel food, which means it requires more testing and evaluation before it can be marketed. This can limit the access and demand for allulose in these markets.
Another challenge is the consumer perception and acceptance of allulose. Although allulose is derived from natural sources, some consumers may be skeptical or confused about its safety and benefits, especially if they are not familiar with the term “rare sugar”. Moreover, some consumers may prefer plant-based sweeteners over synthetic ones, as they perceive them to be more natural and healthy. Therefore, the allulose industry needs to educate consumers about the origin, production, and advantages of allulose, as well as address any concerns or misconceptions they may have.
Despite these challenges, the allulose market has a huge opportunity to grow in the future, driven by the increasing demand for low-calorie, sugar-free, or reduced-sugar products. According to a report by Future Market Insights (FMI), the global allulose market size was valued at US$ 221.3 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% between 2023 and 2033. The report also identifies some of the key trends and drivers for the allulose market, such as:
- The rising prevalence of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease has increased consumer awareness and preference for healthier food products with less sugar, salt, fat, and calories.
- The growing demand for functional foods and convenience foods has increased the need for functional ingredients like allulose that provide health benefits without compromising the taste or texture of food products.
- The growing trend of sugar reduction and natural-everything food movement has encouraged innovation in the ingredient sector and increased the popularity of allulose as a natural and low-calorie sweetener.
- The increasing application of allulose in various food categories, such as bakery, confectionery, dairy food, therapeutic food, beverages, etc., has expanded the market potential and consumer base for allulose.
To capitalize on these opportunities, some of the leading companies in the allulose industry are collaborating to bring allulose to new markets and support its nutritional labeling as a carbohydrate. For instance, Cosun Beet Co., Ingredion, Matsutani Chemical Industry, and Samyang Corp. have formed a consortium to help bring allulose to the EU and UK markets. Tate & Lyle, one of the major producers of allulose in the U.S., has also launched a new website to educate consumers about allulose and its benefits.
In conclusion, organic allulose is a sweet opportunity for the food industry that offers a low-calorie and natural alternative to sugar with some health benefits. However, it also faces some challenges in terms of regulatory approval, consumer perception, and production cost. Therefore, the allulose industry needs to overcome these challenges and leverage the market trends and drivers to achieve growth and success in the future.