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Wall Street Journal Reports on Stevia and Consumer Demand for Artificial Sweeteners

7/6/2012, 11:57 am, Post: Admin

Industry discussion highlighting Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO), PepsiCo. (NYSE: PEP), Stevia Corp. (OTCBB: STEV), Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE: KFT) and Cargill Incorporated. The Wall Street Journal reported on its website ( that growing consumer demand is pushing the Stevia industry forward as consumer demand for artificial sweeteners increases. The article discusses the recent popularity of Truvia, the alternative sweetener brand which is a no-calorie sugar substitute produced by Cargill from Stevia leaf.

One reason Truvia is so appealing to consumers is its position as a "natural" alternative to aspartame, saccharin and other chemically derived sugar substitutes. Fans say Truvia's taste and texture are closer to sugar than those of older entries. Cargill makes Truvia from the Stevia plant whereby the leaves are harvested, dried and steeped in water to release the sweeteners found in Truvia's key ingredient, rebiana.

Cargill, working with Coca-Cola Co., won Food and Drug Administration approval for Truvia in 2008. Since then, sales have overtaken long-established rivals including Sweet'N Low (pink packets with the sweetening agent saccharin) and Equal (light-blue packets with aspartame). Truvia is now the No. 2 branded sugar substitute, behind only Splenda (yellow packets with sucralose), according to retail-sales data for the year that ended Oct. 30, 2011 from SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago market-research firm.

"Natural," a largely unregulated word, casts a powerful spell over marketers, too. Since Truvia hit the market in 2008, it has shown up in more than 30 products, from Coca-Cola's Glacéau Vitamin Water Zero to Kraft Foods' Crystal Light Pure. PepsiCo's Trop50, a reduced-calorie juice drink brand, is sweetened with PureVia, a stevia-based sweetener from Merisant, the Chicago marketer of Equal.

Stevia has helped energize the sugar substitute business. "It's on fire," Paul Block, Merisant chief executive says, "When [consumers] see things that are 'natural' and 'pure,' that is a very fertile area for growth."

Truvia says there are hundreds of new Truvia-sweetened products in the works. This could boast well for not only consumer demand, but also the suppliers of the actual Stevia Leaf. Stevia Corp., a farm management company focused on the economic development of stevia leaf, recently announced its second major research agreement in Vietnam to develop long term advanced agricultural techniques for large scale crop production of stevia. Stevia Corp. also secured its most recent farm management agreement providing the second major customer to employ farm management services and technologies provided by Stevia Corp. for the production of Stevia leaf. For more information on Stevia Corp. visit

Cargill's Zanna McFerson, vice president and business director for Cargill Health and Nutrition, says Truvia has a "clean, sweet taste." And it costs more because it's more expensive to produce a plant-derived product. "We'll always be more expensive because rather than making something in one place, you're growing plants and working with farmers all through the supply chain," she says.

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