There has always been a core group of healthy lifestyle consumers opting for alternative natural sweeteners, but this number has grown in recent years with the rapid expansion of the stevia market driven by large mainstream producers.
Of the multitude of natural sweeteners available in the market today, stevia stands out as the front-runner.
Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research projected that the market for stevia would continue to grow looking ahead to 2017 as a result of increased consumer interest, improved taste and texture, and EU regulatory approval.
Blue California produces Good&Sweet Reb-A 99%, a high-purity stevia extract that contains no other steviol glycosides in order to preserve purity, sweetness and taste.
The Netherlands-based DSM has expanded the sweetening power of stevia with the launch of a new platform based on fermented stevia, which the company expects to introduce to the market within approximately 18 months after completing the necessary regulatory approvals, according to Ardy van Erp, business development manager with DSM Food Specialties.
ViaTech stevia-based sweeteners represent Minneapolis, MN-based Cargill's growing stevia portfolio, targeting calorie reductions of greater than 50% in more challenging applications like carbonated soft drinks.
IFP), Faribault, MN, is known for its product development and contract manufacturing of stevia Reb-A blends.
In the 1960s, stevia was introduced to Japan and intensively grown there in hothouses.
It has been suggested that the reason for the FDA's reluctance to approve stevia is the lobbying effort of those who manufacture aspartame, which is marketed as Nutrasweet.
Stevia is a perennial that grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet.
Although it's in the daisy family, Stevia has the same-size leaves and the gently arching growth habit of many sages (salvias).