The stevia industry’s best guess on approval in Europe is currently around July 2010, according to PureCircle VP sales and marketing Jordi Ferre, and in the meantime the food and beverage sector is watching closely the unfolding market in France.
French food and beverage manufacturers have been able to use stevia sweeteners with a high purity of Reb A since September 2009, as the French government opted to take advantage of a two-year window in advance of anticipated approval for the whole EU.
Ferre says the view of the French market is ‘so far so good’, with stevia making especially good gains in the table top sweeteners. He says it has already achieved a 20 per cent share in that market – an even higher percentage than in the US.
Other hot spots of innovation have been in yoghurts, and in the beverage sector where giants such as Coca Cola have been trying out stevia sweeteners in drinks with lower sugar and lower calories.