PureCircle expands production of Stevia sweeteners

Tate & Lyle assessing sustainability of stevia supply chain
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Pat_Hastings

PureCircle, the US stevia ingredients producer, has significantly expanded production of stevia sweeteners which, it says, have the most sugar-like taste.

The upsurge in production comes down to the company making a number of key advancements.

The stevia leaf contains many sweetener variants – including those known as Reb A, Reb D and Reb M. The former was introduced as an ingredient to the food and beverage industries in 2008 and worked in some beverages and foods, but had some taste limitations.

However, the newer stevia sweetener variants – Reb D and Reb M – have taste profiles quite similar to sugar and are valuable ingredients for the food and beverage companies.

Until now, a challenge has been that Reb D and Reb M are present only in relatively small amounts in the conventional stevia plant. PureCircle’s innovation has addressed that in two ways.

First, PureCircle has developed a proprietary strain of the stevia plant that it calls Starleaf  stevia.

Starleaf stevia plants contain greater amounts of Reb D and Reb M than conventional stevia plants. As previously announced, PureCircle is massively ramping up its planting of Starleaf stevia.

In addition, to further enable it to provide food and beverage companies with significant amounts of Reb D and Reb M, PureCircle now has two ways of producing those stevia sweetener products.

PureCircle continues to produce Reb D and Reb M by extracting them from its proprietary Starleaf plants.  But now it can also produce Reb D and Reb M in much greater scale, directly using the more abundant Reb A in the production process.

The Reb D and Reb M produced from the two processes are from the stevia leaf and are identical in great taste.

A number of consumer companies are already using PureCircle’s Reb D and Reb M in their products. PureCircle’s expansion in production of Reb D and Reb M will increase the supply of these stevia sweeteners with the most sugar-like taste.

This will help the beverage and food companies get access to an ingredient they need, as they continue to respond to their consumers’ desires for more zero- and low-calorie products using plant-based sweeteners.