Cargill to launch stevia-based sweetener this year

by Jeff Gelski
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WAYZATA, MINN. — Cargill today introduced its Truvia brand natural sweetener made from the rebiana part of the stevia leaf. The company said the zero-calorie sweetener will be made available in 2008 although the Food and Drug Administration has not approved stevia-based sweeteners for use in foods or beverages. The F.D.A. has approved the use of stevia-based sweeteners in dietary supplements.

"This new, natural sweetener leverages Cargill’s expertise in specialty food ingredients, agronomy, food science and safety as well as consumer insight and marketing capabilities," said Steve Snyder, vice-president, Cargill Health & Nutrition. "The company is positioned to manage the development of this new sweetener from the first plantings in the field to formulation for foods and beverages, all the way to the product that will sweeten your morning coffee."

According to Cargill, research published today in the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology establishes the safety of rebiana for use as a sweetener in foods and beverages. The research program included metabolism, safety, intake, stability and human studies that complement the body of previously published research on purified steviol glycosides, according to Cargill.

The rebiana part of the stevia leaf is 200 times sweeter than sugar, according to Cargill. The company spent more than two years validating the consumer demand for the new sweetener, said Marcelo Montero, president of Cargill Health & Nutrition.

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