DSM was showcasing Avansya, its stevia sweetener that is made using a genetically modified yeast to produce the best-tasting Reb M molecules through fermentation without the use of leaves from the stevia plant. The GM yeast is not present in the final ingredient.
“The advantage of biotech is that you can be extremely targeted – much more so than nature – on the molecule we need," said Dirk Lippits, business director for dairy, baking and beverages. "It also has a constant quality and constant price whereas with plant-based stevia, that really depends on the harvest. It’s more volatile.” he said.
The company saw the launch as “a big first step,” Lippits said, as it opened the door to manufacturing other molecules using biotech methods. DSM is currently evaluating which of these could be interesting.
“Essentially anything nature makes, biotech can make,” Lippits added.
DSM is also positioning the sweetener as a more environmentally-conscious choice for manufacturers.
“The problem with nature is that it isn’t growing but consumer demand is growing. There are not enough stevia plants to grow stevia for everyone. This [Avansya] is made with an energy efficient process.”
Avansya is now available for manufacturers in the US and Mexico, and the company said it is continuing to work closely with European regulators to get the ingredient approved for the EU.
Cost-in-use of Avansya compared to extracted stevia would give a “clear benefit” to manufacturers while allowing them to make “advanced” reductions in sugar, it said, particularly in beverages and dairy.
“Manufacturers will be able to go beyond reduced sugar to zero-sugar or near zero with this ingredient,” added Steve Hufton, global communications and external affairs.