THE SN LIST: HOW SWEET IT IS

These are the 10 most active of the categories that have been launching products containing low-calorie sweeteners. The first number is the category's share of 2003 activity; the second is the actual number of low-cal sweetened launches in the subsequent 11 months (January-November 2004).range of sweeteners, products like CarboRite Chocolate Coconut Almond Bars and Jelly Bean's Low Carb Sugar-Free

These are the 10 most active of the categories that have been launching products containing low-calorie sweeteners. The first number is the category's share of 2003 activity; the second is the actual number of low-cal sweetened launches in the subsequent 11 months (January-November 2004).

range of sweeteners, products like CarboRite Chocolate Coconut Almond Bars and Jelly Bean's Low Carb Sugar-Free Jelly Beans were positioned as low-sugar, low-calorie and low-carb.

2) Snacks

2003 share of launches: 17.9%; 2004 launches: 325

Snacks also continue to hold a sizable portion of the market share of new-product introductions. Snack bars and salty snacks sweetened with sucralose and maltitol, often targeting low-carb dieters, account for many of these launches, among them Atkins Morning Start Granola Breakfast Bars and South Beach Solutions Low Carb Bars.

3) Beverages

2003 share of launches: 12.5%; 2004 launches: 402

Energy drinks and ready-to-drink juices like SoBe Lean and Tropicana's Light Fruit Punch account for the majority of new product activity in 2004, although low-calorie sweeteners also have made their way into bottled water, carbonated soft drinks and drink mixes.

4) Desserts And ice cream

2003 share of launches: 12.5%; 2004 launches: 471

Desserts and ice cream have become strong players in the low-calorie sweetener market, advancing from fifth to fourth in terms of market share in 2002-2003 and vying for the No. 1 position in 2004. Most of the rollouts, such as Ben & Jerry's Carb Karma and Edy's Carb Benefit, were ice cream products, often targeting low-carb dieters.

5) Bakery

2003 share of launches: 7.7%; 2004 launches: 339

Bakery has also seen introductions rapidly rise in 2004. New entries like Kellogg's Eggo Special K Waffles and Thomas Carb Consider English Muffins commonly used sucralose, and emphasized their low-sugar and low-carb properties. Bakery products using sucralose were expected to nearly double in number by the end of 2004.

6) Weight control

2003 share of launches: 4.9%; 2004 launches: 39

Although many weight-loss supplements don't use sweeteners, new products from makers like Slim Fast and Atkins Nutritionals and Avon generated new activity in this category. Common among them were meal-replacement shakes aimed at low-carb dieters, although new-product activity slowed considerably after 2003.

7) Dairy

2003 share of launches: 2.6%; 2004 launches: 133

In dairy, yogurt-type products and milk products making low-calorie and low-carb claims, like 8th Continent Light Soymilk, accounted for most of the rollouts of new products with low-cal sweeteners, which more than tripled between 2003 and 2004.

8) Spreads

2003 share of launches: 2%; 2004 launches: 24

Launches came in sweet and savory form, as sweeteners made their way into everything from cheese dips to fruit preserves to sandwich spreads for people seeking low-calorie, low-sugar alternatives. Recent launches included Maple Grove Farms' sugar-free, low-carb maple syrup and no-sugar peanut butter from ConAgra.

9) Sauces and seasonings

2003 share of launches: 1.2%; 2004 launches: 53

Makers of pasta sauces, salad dressings, mustards and oils more than doubled their low-calorie-sweetened launches from 2003 to 2004, rolling out products touted as low-sugar, low-calorie and, in some cases, low-carb. Among them: Walden Farms Sugar Free Italian Dressing and Carb Options Low Carb Pasta Sauce.

10) Breakfast cereals

2003 share of launches: 0.9%; 2004 launches: 20

Most new-product activity in the cereal category has centered on health rather than on low-carb, although 2004 produced 20 new products containing sweeteners, up from 14 in 2003, as companies like General Mills and Kellogg's added sucralose to popular cereals to appeal to people looking to cut their sugar and carb intakes.

Sources: Mintel International Group, SN Research