LONDON — The World Health Organization on May 15 recommended against the use of non-sugar sweeteners to control body weight or reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases like diabetes. The recommendation covered several Tate & Lyle, Inc. sweeteners, notably sucralose, but the London-based company continues to believe in those sweeteners, said Nick Hampton, chief executive officer, who pointed out the recommendation was “conditional.”

“And that means it’s based on a low weight of evidence, and therefore, there is a little bit of controversy about it,” he said in a May 25 earnings call to discuss financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31. “So for us, we’ll clearly watch it very carefully, but we’ve got a belief that what we’re doing is the right thing to help solve the immediate problem of growing obesity and diabetes in the world.”

Much scientific evidence shows low- and no-calorie sweeteners are effective in helping with weight management and other lifestyle choices, he said.

“And that’s really important in a world where obesity and diabetes is the biggest health challenge facing the world, and what we’re seeing from customers is massive demand for those products because they’re trying to provide consumers with positive choice to reduce their sugar intake,” Mr. Hampton said.

Besides sucralose, non-sugar sweeteners in the WHO recommendation included acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, stevia and stevia derivatives.

Adjusted EBITDA for Tate & Lyle’s Sucralose business in the fiscal year dipped 5% to £58 million ($71 million). Sucralose adjusted revenue increased 2% to £184 million ($227 million). Volume declined, especially in the first half of the year, Mr. Hampton said.

“That’s the first point is big customers pulled quite strongly on their contracts in the first half,” he said. “What we also saw in the second half is we’re lapping a record quarter in Q4 2022.”

Dawn Amanda Allen, chief financial officer, added, “If you think about the role of sucralose in the portfolio, its role is to deliver attractive returns, and it has delivered that in the year, with around 30% margin. The other thing to say is the global market for sucralose remains very robust and continues to grow.”

 Companywide, adjusted EBITDA in the fiscal year rose 22% to £320 million while adjusted revenue increased 18% to £1.75 billion thanks to gains in price/mix. In Food & Beverage Solutions, adjusted revenue increased 19% to £1.44 billion due to gains in price/mix and constant currency.

“Food & Beverage Solutions is our growth engine, and its role is to drive margin-accretive growth,” Ms. Allen said in prepared remarks. “Revenue is expected to grow at high single-digit percent per annum, which is ahead of the market. It’s also the largest part of our portfolio, comprising over 80% of our revenue and EBITDA. “

A little over a year ago, Tate & Lyle’s portfolio changed. The company sold a controlling stake in its Primary Products business in North America and Latin America to KPS Capital Partners. A new company, Primient, was established in April 2022 as a result of that transaction. Tate & Lyle owns a 49.7% share in Primient, a joint venture. Tate & Lyle’s adjusted share of Primient was £24 million for the fiscal year.

“Primient had a difficult year due to some operational challenges in their plant network and the impact of inflation,” Ms. Allen said in prepared remarks. “Interest costs were also 47% higher, reflecting higher US interest rates.”