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Sugar Alcohol Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Sorbitol, Xylitol, Maltitol, Erythritol, and Isomalt), Application (Food and Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, and Cosmetics and Personal Care), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2032

Last Updated: May 13, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102956



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The global sugar alcohol market size was USD 3.61 Billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 9.07 Billion by 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.13% during the forecast period based on our analysis in the existing report.

The market is likely to propel owing to the increasing consumption of gum confectionery products such as chewing gum. The polyols are added to various food products as a sugar substitute. The majority of the production of the polyol is consumed by the food and beverage end-user sector wherein, the bakery and confectionery hold the largest market share. Owing to the fast-paced lifestyle, consumers prefer sugar-free food products, which will aid market growth.

However, globally the current market for polyols will increase rapidly from its usual consumption rate due to the pandemic situation caused by COVID-19. Sugar Alcohol are one of the important ingredients that are added in the production of hand sanitizers and hand washes. Currently, there are more than two million people affected by COVID-19 globally, and this is a driving factor for the usage of hand sanitizers. The utilization of polyols in food and beverage products is expected to face a downfall, whereas the pharmaceutical sector will experience a sudden increase in consumption. This increase will help maintain stability in the overall market growth without any downfall.

On the other hand, the food and beverage sector experiences a dip in its value share owing to fewer sales of gum confectioneries. Considering the pandemic situation and various rules imposed by the respective government bodies, consumers tend to buy only the essentials such as ready-to-eat food products, instant food, and other packaged food. This will dampen the sales of confectionery and baked goods.

Less labor in the production houses, availability of fewer stocks or no stocks, unorganized sales channel, restrictions on the imports and exports, and consumer preferences are certain factors, which affect the sales of confectionery products and baked goods.


Growing Consumer Inclination towards Sugar-free Food Products 

The growing trend in the consumption of sugar-free food products in various developed countries favours the growth of the market. Consumers are inclined towards the consumption of sugar-free products and are aware of label claims such as “no sugar”, “sugarless”, and “sugar-free”, which is having a positive impact on the market. The fast-moving lifestyle and increasing urbanization have led to less consumption of sugar and artificial sweeteners. The consumers are using a substitute for sugar in various food and beverage industries with the claim “sugar-free”. Owing to the adoption of this trend, various manufacturers have involved in the production of sugar-free food products.

In August 2017, a U.S. based gum confectionery company Wrigley launched its first sugar-free soft chews under its brand name Orbit. This launch was based on a retail survey in which consumers were looking for gums and soft chews with less sugar/sugar-free.

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Rising Diabetic Population serves as an Opportunity for Market Growth

The rise in health-conscious consumers, increasing demand for processed food and confectionery products, and the rising incidences of diabetes are the factors that will drive the growth of the market. Epidemic obesity and diabetes continue to influence the dietary lifestyles of people globally as they observe a transition in the quality of the food that is served. Furthermore, in recent times, the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes and obesity has significantly risen. The rising awareness of the side effects of over consumption of sugary products among individuals is fueling the growth of the demand for sugar-free products. For instance, as per the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), out of 10, around one individual in the age group of 20-79 has diabetes, which accounts for 537 million individuals. In addition, IDF mentions that in 2021, diabetes was responsible for around 6.7 million deaths globally. Usage of artificial sweeteners are justified by various manufacturers, but the consumers are opting for healthier options. This trend has increased the requirement for polyols, a nutritive sugar alternative. Various research studies suggest that it exhibits a characteristic to lower blood-glucose response. Furthermore, without the use of insulin, they help stimulate the metabolism of diabetics, which has gained popularity among the end-users. Hence, Sugar Alcohol is expected to create opportunities as it is used as a less-calorie alternative.

COVID-19 Impact Will Lead to High Sales of Hand Sanitizers

Globally around 5.0 million people are affected by COVID-19 and more than 325.24 thousand deaths have occurred (as on 20 May, 2020). The pandemic situation has led to larger sales of hand sanitizers and hand washes, as they can disinfect the hands from the virus. Ethanol and Sugar Alcohol are the major ingredients used in the production of hand sanitizers. Due to the outbreak, the hand disinfectant manufacturers were running out of stock. In order to overcome the surplus demand, various leading alcohol manufacturers donated ethanol and Sugar Alcohol to produce hand sanitizers. Factors that have led to high sales of hand sanitizers are the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, total number of population, total number of clinics and hospitals, availability of raw materials, imports and exports of the raw materials, and purchasing pattern of the consumers, which include bulk buying.

In March 2020, four major U.S. based companies such as the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, Lakeview Plymouth Energy, Absolute Energy, and Western Iowa Energy have donated ethanol and other Sugar Alcohol to produce hand sanitizers in order to address the demand for the same.


Low Manpower in the Production Base due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a complete lockdown of the 180 countries. This has affected the market negatively as there is less availability of labor in the production house. Owing to this lockdown, the manufacturers have been forced to use the available stocks. Since there are supply chain disruptions such as less/no imports and exports, there is major decline witnessed in the consumption of Sugar Alcohol in food and beverage industry. Different government bodies have imposed different rules for the purchase of essentials. For instance, in the U.S., only one supermarket/hypermarket is opened per community for restricted timings. This includes social distancing, wearing mask, and disinfecting the hands. Due to various restrictions imposed, the consumer tends to buy only the required essential products such as bread, eggs, milk and others. These regulations vary from one country to the other and has a negative impact on the market, as there is less labor available in the production base.

Due to the high demand for hand sanitizers, the Sugar Alcohol manufacturers are functioning, but the end-users have shut down either completely or partially.

In February 2020, the Coco-Cola Company shut down its production base of Diet Coke, as there are supply disruptions of sugar alternatives from China and other countries.


By Type Analysis

Sorbitol Hold the Largest Market Share Owing to its Wide Range of Applications

Sorbitol holds the largest market share as it is used widely in various applications. Consumers are looking for a healthier alternative for sugar and sorbitol being the highly popular sugar alcohol is expected to create a demand for the same. Rise in consumer awareness regarding low-calorie food products is also an important factor for the acceptance of sorbitol usage among the end-users. A surge is observed among the consumers in the usage of organic personal care and cosmetic products, which is expected to have a positive impact in the consumption of sorbitol. In addition, awareness among the consumers regarding various health issues associated with the consumption of sugar will aid in the growth of sorbitol consumption. 

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On the other hand, xylitol is expected to hold a decent market share owing to the high cost of the product. Various manufacturers are facing challenges to create the extraction of Sugar Alcohol as a cost-effective technique. Other types like maltitol, isomalt, and erythritol are majorly used in cosmetics and personal care products and finds its own pace to grow in the market.

By Application Analysis

Food and Beverage Sector is Expected to Dominate Owing to the Increased Consumption of Confectionery Products

The food and beverage sector is expected to hold the largest market share as there is an increase in the consumption of confectionery products. Sugar Alcohol serve other functions as well, other than the sugar alternatives such as texturizer, helps retain moisture, and humectant in various confectionery and baked products. Confectionery being the largest consumer of Sugar Alcohol in the food and beverage sector, it helps in the market growth. According to the data from various industry players, the bakery sector grew at a CAGR of 4.60% from the year 2013-2018. This positively influences the market, as polyols such as sorbitol find its pace to grow in the bakery sector.

On the other hand, Sugar Alcohol are majorly used in the pharmaceutical industry for the production of hand sanitizers and protein supplements. This is expected to create various opportunities in the market. Further, due to the change in individual behaviour post-pandemic, which is more inclined towards personal health and hygiene, the demand for sugar alcohols is expected to grow significantly in the pharmaceutical sector with the rise in demand for sanitisation products in the global market.


Europe Sugar Alcohol Market Size, 2016-2027 (USD Billion)

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Europe to Exhibit Highest Growth due to Large Consumer Base for Confectionery Products

Europe market grows at a rapid pace owing to the high consumption of confectionery products in the region. Europe is a developed economy with various working professionals that has led to the awareness of sugar-free products and the adoption of sugar alternatives in their diet. There is a rise in the number of working women population and fast-paced lifestyle that has led to the consumption of various processed food products. These are certain factors that support the growth of the European market.

Among the presence of various countries, Russia is expected to hold the largest market share owing to the population dynamics. The smoking population in Russia is high as compared to the other countries in Europe, which directly increases the sales of chewing gums in the country. Apart from the consumption of confectionery products, the country is expected to have a large consumer base for baked goods too.

An immediate surge in the consumption of polyols is witnessed in 2020 due to the pandemic situation caused by COVID-19. Various manufacturers are producing large quantities of Sugar Alcohol to make hand sanitizers and hand washes. Europe is largely affected by the disease, countries such as Italy, Spain, Belgium, and others have been advised to carry hand disinfectants everywhere. This surges the growth of the market.

Followed by Europe, North America is expected to hold the second-largest market share. This is ascribable to factors such as high prevalence of affected patients in the U.S. Furthermore, it is estimated that around half the affected patients in the region are from the U.S. Moreover, adoption of hand sanitizers is widely accepted in the country. A downfall is witnessed in the food and beverage sector, as there is less workforce in the production house, and the requirement of polyols is much needed in the pharmaceutical sector.

Asia Pacific is expected to hold the third-largest market share. This is attributable to the presence of large population base in the region. Countries like China and India are the leading producers of polyols, globally. Leading manufacturers in the region have donated their ethanol and Sugar Alcohol for the production of hand disinfectants.


Industry Focus in Development of Natural Sugar Alcohol

The global market structure is highly organized. These players are adopting the sugar-free trend and are implementing transparency in the supply chain. New technological advancements and increasing demand from the end-user industries have led to the emergence of various new players in the market. Roquette Frères, Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., and Cargill Incorporated are the leading players in the market.



  • In December 2023, Brandt’s, a well-known U.S.-based manufacturer, launched its Fenglihui Anjiachun, a novel sugar alcohol in the Chinese market, which Beijing Xinhefeng Agricultural Materials will distribute.

  • In August 2022, Psaltry International announced the launch of its new cassava-based sorbitol production factory in Iseyin, Oyo state. The factory is said to be the first in Africa and second largest globally with a production capacity of 25 tons of sorbitol per day.

  • In March 2022, Sunar Misir, one of the major players in the corn-derived sweeteners industry, announced the launch of its all-new Sorbitol powder called Sunsorb, with a significant investment in technologically advanced production in Turkey.

  • In March 2020, Gull New Zealand Limited, a major petroleum company, released 340,000 liters of ethanol and Sugar Alcohol to produce hand disinfectants. This will help produce 940,000 liters of hand sanitizers.

  • In May 2020, Ingredion Inc. launched its first sugar alcohol under its brand name ERYSTA Erythritol. This product launch helps enable the food manufacturers to go with the sugar-free trend.


The rising concerns regarding obesity and diabetics has led to the increased consumption of Sugar Alcohol, as it comes with a tagline sugar-free.

The report provides qualitative and quantitative insights into the market. It also offers a detailed analysis of its utility, applications, types of Sugar Alcohol, market size, and growth rate for all possible segments in the market.

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Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the market, future growth dynamics, and competitive landscape. Various key insights presented in the report include an overview of related markets, recent industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory scenario in critical countries, and key industry trends.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Sorbitol

  • Xylitol

  • Maltitol

  • Erythritol

  • Isomalt

By Application

  • Food and Beverages

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Cosmetics and Personal Care

  • Others

By Region

  • North America (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico)

  • Europe (U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, and the Rest of Europe)

  • Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan, Australia, and the Rest of Asia- Pacific)

  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, and the Rest of South America)

  • The Middle East & Africa (South Africa, UAE, and the Rest of the MEA)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the value of the market was USD 3.61 Billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 6.70 Billion by 2027.

Growing at a CAGR of 7.75%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2027).

The sorbitol segment is expected to be the leading segment based on type in the global market during the forecast period.

Rising consumer awareness regarding sugar-free food products is a key factor driving the market.

ADM, Cargill, Roquette, and Tate and Lyle are few key players.

Europe is expected to hold the highest market share in 2019.

Food and Beverage sector is expected to grow at a faster rate

Increased usage of hand sanitizers due to the pandemic situation is a major driver for the market.

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