Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Overview of Neotame in China

Though neotame is a globally patented product of NutraSweet Property Holdings, Inc. (NutraSweet), still a few neotame producers are operating in China. And according to CCM's investigation, some neotame producers improve production technology or expand capacity in order to explore domestic and oversea market after 2013, when the patent of neotame expires, revealing in the September Issue of CCM’s Sweeteners China News.
As a high intensity sweeteners (HIS), neotame has been approved to be used in food and beverage by the Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China since October 2003. So far, it can also be used in all kinds of food and beverage without maximum dosage, while most HIS can only be applied within a maximum dosage, such as saccharin, cyclamate, sucralose, acesulfame-K, etc.

Neotame has been produced in China for several years, but only 10 neotame manufacturers are operating at present, most of which are small-scaled ones. According to some neotame makers, their major sale comes from domestic market. And neotame is applied in food and beverage or as a raw material of complex additives. However, in correspondence with CCM's investigation result, a few domestic neotame producers have started exporting through distribution. In order to get rid of the patent restriction, their exported neotame has to be renamed, as some insiders revealed.

At present, most neotame producers manufacture neotame 8,000 times sweeter than sucrose, which is quite preferred among their customers. However, some producers make neotame with lower sweetness—diluted neotame—only 7,000 or even 200-400 times of sucrose's. For example, a domestic producer expressed that it applies crystalline glucose as carrier to produce low purity neotame.

The price of domestic neotame may arrange from about USD85,030/t to USD100,490/t, while the price of imported one reaches a much higher USD618,400/t at present. In consideration of this, some Chinese food processors choose domestic neotame in production.

However, though the price of domestic neotame is much lower than that of imported one, the quality of most home-made product is very close to the latter on the palate thanks to similar techniques, a point shared by some distributors of imported neotame in China. For instance, a distributor of NutraSweet said that the only substantial difference between domestic and imported neotame lies in that imported neotame is produced by regular producers with global patent.

In fact, the development of domestic neotame industry is under restriction of neotame's global patent. On one hand, domestic neotame is mainly consumed by small downstream producers, whose awareness of intellectual property is rather weak, while large-scale food processors rarely use it. Compared with other HIS, the downstream application of neotame is still narrow. Moreover, it is difficult to use the name "neotame" to export domestic neotame.

Since global patent of neotame will expire in 2013, domestic neotame producers are attracted to improve their production technologies or expand capacity in order to explore domestic and oversea market. For example, a manager of a main neotame producer located in Qingdao said that the company planned to expand its capacity of neotame from H2 2011, which serves as a preparation for increasing its market share upon the expiration of neotame patent. For another instance, a manager of  a neotame producer located in Ji'nan confirmed their determination to do the same thing.

Most domestic neotame producers believe in their better development after 2013, when they can output and sell more products in domestic and oversea market without any worry. Luckily, it is estimated that the price of neotame may rise thanks to future demand increase.

A domestic producer predicted that if NutraSweet doesn't cut down the price of its neotame, domestic neotame may take up 80% of global neotame market due to its price advantage. What's more, domestic producers are very likely to continue expansion, even some other companies may join in the production to take a bite.
(Guangzhou China, September 6, 2011)

Content of Sweeteners China News 1109:
Profit of erythritol decreases in H1 2011
Aspartame industry develops well in H1 2011
About 290 tonnes sucralose exported in H1 2011
Net profit of QHT falls nearly 50% in H1 2011
Star Lake Bioscience to market HFCS in Oct. 2011
Anhui Jinhe's acesulfame-K business may develop better in near future
Jincheng starch puts its crystalline glucose production line into trial production
Yongli Milk to build FOS production line
Global Sweeteners expanding its corn starch capacity of 210,000t/a
Ex-factory prices of Chinese sweeteners in August 2011
Import & export analysis of Chinese saccharin in Jan.-July 2011
Import & export analysis of Chinese sorbitol in Jan.-July 2011
GLG to launch zero-calorie carbonated soft drinks in Aug. 2011
Government strengthens adjusting control of sucrose price
Bright Dairy buys 75% stake of Manassen Foods
Corn may have bumper harvest in China in 2011
CNRIFFI announces that research of stachyose gains success
Conference of national beet industrial system held in Urumchi
COFCO offers AUD120 million to purchase Proserpine Sugar
Output of foods containing sugar increases much in July 2011……

Sweeteners China News is a monthly newsletter published by CCM International Limited. Based on China market, CCM offers timely update and close follow up of China’s various kind of sweeteners market dynamics, analyze the market data and trends, Major columns include market dynamic, company dynamic, raw material supply, price update, import & export analysis, Consumption Trend & Competitiveness.

If you are interested in June issue of Sweeteners China News, please do not hesitate to contact us by +86-20-37616606, or email us at

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