Stevia antioxidant product announced by PureCircle
The ingredient can be used in both food and beverages as a way to reduce sugar content, say the brand.
It can be used alongside other sweeteners to help with sugar reduction and flavour stabilisation.
The presence of antioxidants in stevia plants is well researched but so far has not been used commercially.
PureCircle specialise in stevia sweeteners which can be used in food and beverages, in an effort to reduce obesity and diabetes risks caused by over-consumption of sugar.
Stevia is a plant native to South America which has a naturally sweet taste profile. It enables manufacturers to create low-calorie and zero-calorie food and beverage items.
The brand say its new product will appeal to manufacturers targeting consumers concerned about health and wellness.
"Similar to superfood, stevia leaf extract is nutrient-rich and offers health benefits for general well-being. Antioxidants, in general, protect or delay damage that's caused in the cells of the body by harmful molecules generally called 'free radicals'" said PureCircle.
According to Mintel, a market intelligence agency, product launches with antioxidant claims have increased by 18% in the past five years, due to consumers’ increasing desire for a healthy lifestyle.
PureCircle has created a new process which can extract and purify the antioxidants found in stevia plants, keeping the molecules intact in order to use them in its ingredients.
“Stevia as an antioxidant will further support beverage and food companies in providing their customers with health benefits and great-tasting products containing compounds commonly found in ‘superfoods’ such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Although it has been known that stevia plants contain antioxidants, the ability to extract is a major commercial advance,” said Faith Son, vice-president of marketing and innovation at PureCircle.
The product has a clean but mildly sweet taste, says PureCircle.
The product is currently being trialled and tested and is expected to be fully released in the US in 2018, with an expected European release date following shortly after.
The regulatory approval will inform how the product should be labelled, however PureCircle expect it to be labelled as 'Stevia Leaf Extract (Antioxidant)'.