Stevia approval opened new sweetener category, says Cargill


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Cargill claims that plant-derived zero-calorie sweeteners are a new category of sweeteners
Cargill claims that plant-derived zero-calorie sweeteners are a new category of sweeteners

Related tags Stevia sweeteners Stevia

The relatively flat UK sweetener market grew 7% last year boosted by EU approval of stevia extracts in late 2011, says Cargill, the supplier of Truvia-brand stevia-based sweeteners.

Citing Nielsen figures, Cargill says that stevia sweeteners – zero-calorie sweeteners derived from the stevia plant – were responsible for about 80% of the £3.5m (about €4.1m) growth in the UK sweetener market last year. The company’s Truvia-brand extracts made £1.7m (€2m) in UK sales last year.

Stevia extracts were first introduced in the UK in January 2012, following EU-wide approval in November 2011. In the United States, where stevia extracts were first allowed for use in foods and drinks in December 2008, the sweeteners category has since grown 20% and stevia is now the nation’s number two sugar substitute.

Mark Brooks, business director, Truvia Consumer Products said: “Bringing Truvia sweetener to the UK market marked a major step forward for consumers, opening up an entirely new category of sweetness – calorie-free and sweetness from a leaf.

“We’ve been delighted by the response we’ve had from UK consumers in the past 12 months.”

Cargill claims that more than 396,000 UK households bought Truvia sweeteners during 2012, and the company intends to introduce two new products this year in an effort to grow the category still further – a calorie-free tablet format, and Truvia Baking Blend, in which stevia is mixed with sugar for home-baked goods with 75% fewer calories than those made with sugar alone.

Among about 50 brands using Cargill’s stevia extracts as an ingredient, Truvia is also the brand used in Coca-Cola’s reformulated Sprite, which was re-launched in the UK with stevia – and 30% fewer calories – in February.

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