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International food standards authority Codex Alimentarius adopted the four production technologies for steviol glycosides

Food and Beverages | Thursday, February 10, 2022

The international food standards authority Codex Alimentarius adopted the four production technologies for steviol glycosides which opened the doors for industry to produce and source more sustainably less-common versions of the sweetener to meet growing consumer demand

FREMONT, CA: According to data from Innova, product launches featuring stevia have increased dramatically across categories and locations over the last ten years, with a compound annual growth rate of 21.9 percent between 2011 and 2021. The International Stevia Association stated that while the majority of these products were launched in North America, Asia, and Western Europe, new product launches featuring the sweetener increased by more than 35 percent in Eastern Europe, Australasia, Africa, and the Middle East during the same time period. Many of these new products, ranging from beverages to snacks and confections to baked goods and cereals, have benefited from new technologies that have led to the development of next-generation steviol glycosides, such as Reb M and Reb D, that have a cleaner taste more akin to sugar.

Despite increased demand, a major challenge for the industry is that several newer steviol glycosides are discovered in lesser concentrations in the stevia leaf, limiting supply and hindering innovation. Suppliers can now use four different technologies – stevia leaf extract, steviol glycosides from bioconversion, steviol glycosides from fermentation, and glucosylated steviol glycosides – to make newer, more popular steviol glycosides without having to submit new dossiers, as long as they meet the criteria and specifications of the technologies that ensure the highest level of safety, purity, and quality. While this is good news for the whole industry, it is especially good news for smaller and medium-sized businesses aiming to meet customer demand for sugar-free and reduced-calorie products.

According to Scardigli, Stevia is included in the product portfolios of several international corporations. Small and medium firms are projected to have greater opportunities to introduce innovative stevia-based products as a result of the new framework. These may be niche goods, with little impact on total stevia industry growth, but they will have a huge impact on consumer awareness and acceptance of stevia. This will assist to raise awareness of stevia's true potential and position stevia as the sweetener of choice for calorie reduction in food and beverage products, she added.

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