A new market report by Transparency Market Research (TMR), Albany, N.Y., valued the global low-calorie food market at USD $7.4 billion in 2013 and researchers expect the sector to post a CAGR of 5.9% from 2014 to 2019, to reach an estimated value of USD $10.4 billion in 2019.

Those conclusions come from Transparency Market Research’s report:  "Low-calorie Food Market, Global Forecast, Market Share, Size, Growth and Industry Analysis, 2014–2019."

Authors say obesity has become one of the world’s most challenging health problems. According to the World Health Organization, (WHO), the number of overweight children under the age of five in 2010 was around 42 million, globally. Obese people are more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a young age.

WHO estimates that approximately 347 million people worldwide had diabetes in 2013.The United States has highest obesity rate, estimated at approximately 36.5% of the total U.S. population. The U.K. (24.8%) has the highest obese population in Europe, while Australia (28.3%) leads in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, there also are growing numbers of diabetes cases in emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil.

TMR researchers note that demand for low-calorie food also is increasing due to changing lifestyles, an increasing number of health conscious people, and growing consumer confidence in low-calorie products due to their natural claims.

Based on application, the low-calorie food market is broadly classified under, food, beverages, healthcare, tabletop and others. TMR notes that low-calorie products in the beverages sector are forecasted to increase by 5.9% CAGR from 2014 to 2019.

TMR also looks at the ingredients "Aspartame," "Sucralose," "Stevia,” “Saccharin” and “Cyclamate” as broad categories. Study authors note that aspartame is one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners. They note, however, that sucralose is gaining more popularity than aspartame and that sucralose is expected to be the fastest growing segment.

Growing consumer preferences for all-natural products have created a huge demand for stevia. Due to its growing popularity as a 100% natural sweetener, stevia is giving tough competition to other high-intensity sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose.