Stevia awareness on the rise

by Keith Nunes
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OAK BROOK, ILL. — Stevia awareness among mothers has built quickly in just a short time following Food and Drug Administration approval of Reb A, according to consumer research commissioned by PureCircle and conducted by LaunchForce, a consulting firm based in Cincinnati. The full study will be presented in a webinar on Oct. 20 at 10:30 am central standard time.

The research also revealed that the appeal of stevia among mothers is high, said Jason Hecker, director of marketing in the United States for PureCircle. Nearly 50% of mothers that were aware of stevia have a positive impression of it, and very few indicated they had a negative impression, according to the study.

"Overall the ingredient is starting from a very strong place, with room to continue to positively shape the impression of the ingredient in moms’ eyes," Mr. Hecker said. "Recognizing that stevia had already been in the market for some time as a nutritional supplement, in lower purity forms, we weren’t sure whether any of the previous quality issues before Reb A would carry forward to consumer perception today. The good news is that they have not."

In seeking to understand awareness and perception of stevia, PureCircle also asked mothers about their awareness of the common names being used on ingredient lines by major food and beverage manufacturers.

"What we found is that while Reb A and Rebiana are commonly used naming conventions for the ingredient, consumers in fact have very low recognition of these names — less than 1%," Mr. Hecker said. "As a result, the discussion of the differences between Reb A and stevia is largely an industry discussion, albeit an important one, as high-purity Reb A taste qualities are far superior to the previous raw stevia extract."

From a consumer perspective, the discussion is far less relevant, according to the research.

"For consumer communication, we believe that a focus on stevia remains the most consumer-friendly way to talk about the ingredient in F&B manufacturers’ marketing communications, independently of what needs to be stated in the ingredient declaration," Mr. Hecker said.

The survey was conducted on-line with a total of 1,475 completed. It included a representative sample of 1,200 mothers across the United States and over-sampled for Hispanics to allow PureCircle to dive specifically into Hispanic knowledge of the ingredient.

To learn more about the webinar or register, visit PureCircle’s web site at

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