Stevia leaves
PureCircle creates the sweeteners through stevia plants with higher levels of Reb M and Reb D.

OAK BROOK, ILL. — PureCircle has launched the Zeta family of stevia ingredients made with higher levels of Rebaudioside D and Rebaudioside M, two of the sweeter-tasting, but rarer, steviol glycosides found in the stevia leaf. PureCircle’s agronomy program has allowed the company to grow stevia varieties that contain over 20 times the amount of the rare steviol glycosides found in other stevia leaves.

Food and beverages product developers may use the Zeta sweetener to achieve deeper levels of sugar and calorie reductions. Formulations with 0 calories are possible as are formulations with 10 calories or fewer per serving, said Faith Son, vice-president of global marketing and innovation for PureCircle, which has a U.S. office in Oak Brook. No bitter aftertaste is another benefit, according to PureCircle.

Zeta ingredients have worked well in such beverages as carbonated soft drinks, teas and juices, Ms. Son said. The ingredients have been shown to work in many different categories, including yogurt and other dairy items, coffee creamers, candy, and chocolate, she said.

The products in the Zeta family vary by types and amounts of steviol glycosides, Ms. Son said.

“Sweetening low- to zero-calorie beverages has been especially challenging for stevia,” said John Martin, global director of technical development and innovation for PureCircle. “Finding the right steviol glycosides with very high levels of sweetness without the negative attributes has been our goal for many years. Before, only caloric or artificial sweeteners were able to achieve this sweetness level. Now we have a naturally-sourced option with the Zeta ingredients. At these deep levels of reductions, it is impressive to see the impact of these glycosides, delivering the clean, sweet taste with no bitterness that consumers want.”