Low-cost imports of widely used noncaloric sweeteners force makers to cut back

Marc S. Reisch

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Low-cost artificial sweetener imports from China forced U.S. aspartame maker NutraSweet to shutter its plant in Georgia this year and U.K.-based sucralose maker Tate & Lyle to warn investors of significant profit erosion. The NutraSweet shutdown leaves China’s Niutang as the world’s dominant producer of aspartame. NutraSweet, which bought the business from Monsanto in 2000, said it couldn’t make a profit because of cheap imports. Tate & Lyle blamed “irrational behavior” by Chinese firms for erosion in the price of its Splenda-brand sucralose. Tate & Lyle CEO Javed Ahmed said his firm had no immediate remedy other than to not compete for certain low-end business. Niutang is also the leading low-cost producer of sucralose.

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