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Stevia wins final EU approval

By Mike Stones , 14-Nov-2011
Last updated on 15-Nov-2011 at 12:29 GMT2011-11-15T12:29:37Z

No-calorie, sweetener stevia has finally won EU approval, prompting a range of firms to accelerate plans to bring products to market.

Merisant said its stevia-based tabletop sweetener Pure Via would be available to UK consumers by December 2 2011. Hugues Pitre, the firm’s vice-president and md, said: “We have already secured a leading position in France through this new market.

"Based on our rich heritage of research and expertise into perfecting the application of stevia extracts into sweeteners and our £4M investment in the UK, we are very confident we will achieve similar success with Pure Via in the UK market in the upcoming months.”

In France, stevia sweeteners with a high purity of the steviol glycoside Reb A have been allowed for sale since September 2009.

Coca-Cola Europe said the approval would improve consumer choice. Dominique Reiniche, president Coca-Cola Europe, said: “The addition of stevia to the range of sweeteners we already use in our drinks gives us even more options to innovate and develop the best-tasting drinks for our consumers.

“This is another important milestone as we grow our portfolio to offer even more choice for every occasion and lifestyle.”

Cargill’s stevia-based sweetener Truvia would reach some EU consumers before Christmas, Zanna McFerson, vice president and business director of Truvia, told our sister publication FoodNavigator-USA.

Cargill, an official petitioner for the use of stevia in Europe, received notification by the European Commission of its formal approval of steviol glycosides in Europe on November 11, 2011.

Healthier diets

Jordi Ferre, PureCircle's president Commercial Division, said: “This is a very important day for the stevia industry, food and beverage manufacturers and consumers in Europe. Stevia, the no-calorie, natural sweetener, will play an important role in addressing consumer interest in healthier diets and sustainable ingredients, as well as to help offset rising commodity costs for our customers.”

Maria Teresa Scardigli, executive director of the International Stevia Council, said: "The final hurdle in the regulatory process for steviol glycosides - the scrutiny of the regulation by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers - has been cleared."

The regulation will enter into force 20 days after publication in the EU Official Journal, which occurred on November 12.

Stevia-based sweeteners are already approved for use in the US, Japan, China, and Australia.

The European market for sweeteners is valued at $500M while the European market for sweeteners generates $500M and the European market for Stevia-based sweeteners should reach an additional $100M next year, predicted Cargill.

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