PureCircle innovation efforts help boost stevia production


03 Apr 2018 --- PureCircle has announced that its recent advances now enable it to significantly boost production of the stevia sweeteners which it says "have the most sugar-like taste and which are most sought after by beverage and food companies."

The stevia leaf contains many sweetener variants, including those known as Reb A, Reb D and Reb M. Each is an intense sweetener, enabling the production of low- and zero-calorie beverages and foods, sweetened with an ingredient from a plant.

Reb A was introduced as an ingredient to the food and beverage industries in 2008 and worked in some beverages and foods, but had some taste limitations. However, the newer stevia sweetener variants, Reb D and Reb M, have taste profiles quite similar to sugar and are valuable ingredients for the food and beverage companies.

Until now, a challenge has been that Reb D and Reb M are present only in relatively small amounts in the conventional stevia plant. PureCircle's innovation has addressed that in two ways.

First, PureCircle has developed a proprietary strain of the stevia plant that it calls Starleaf stevia. Starleaf stevia plants contain greater amounts of Reb D and Reb M than conventional stevia plants. As previously announced this year, PureCircle is massively ramping up it's planting of Starleaf stevia.

Also, to further enable it to provide food and beverage companies with significant amounts of Reb D and Reb M, PureCircle now has two ways of producing those stevia sweetener products. PureCircle continues to produce Reb D and Reb M by extracting them from its proprietary Starleaf plants. But now it can also produce Reb D and Reb M in much greater scale, directly using the more abundant Reb A in the production process. The Reb D and Reb M produced from the two processes are from the stevia leaf and are identical in great taste.

Some consumer companies are already using PureCircle's Reb D and Reb M in their products. PureCircle's expansion in production of Reb D and Reb M will increase the supply of these stevia sweeteners with the most sugar-like taste. That will help the beverage and food companies get access to an ingredient they need, as they continue to respond to their consumers' desires for more zero- and low-calorie products using plant-based sweeteners.

PureCircle has already begun ramped-up production of Reb D and Reb M. PureCircle CEO Maga Malsagov says: “Large-scale volumes are now available at attractive prices.”  He adds that the product is “consistently of the highest quality.”

All of PureCircle's stevia sweeteners – produced using either of the above-cited processes – are non-GMO. Additionally, they all are “GRAS.”

PureCircle has been granted an array of stevia-related patents. These patents – plus additional applied for patents – cover a wide range of stevia-related products and processes. Beyond patents, and further enhancing its broad-based intellectual property, the company has extensive trade secrets and know-how.

PureCircle notes that it works with food and beverage companies to make formulation with stevia simple and offers some specialized variants and blends of stevia sweeteners designed to work optimally in different consumer product categories.

Last month, FoodIngredientsFirst published a report on stevia. VP of Marketing and Innovation, Faith Son, told FoodIngredientsFirst: “Since stevia received approval as a commercial ingredient in 2008, it has experienced tremendous growth. Furthermore, we have observed the increased use of stevia across all regions globally. Stevia has been incorporated into most applications you would traditionally find sugar, including sodas, ready-to-drink teas & coffees to sauces and cookies. Based on consumer and health practitioner demand for plant-based and zero to low-calorie ingredients, we only anticipate stevia-based product growth to continue its growth in the years to come.”

You can read the full report here.

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