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GLG Life Tech finalizes Sugar Australia deal

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 15-Jul-2010

Stevia supplier GLG Life Tech has signed a five-year deal with Sugar Australia for distribution and marketing of its stevia-derived sweeteners for the Australian and New Zealand food and beverage markets.

Increasingly, much of the stevia industry has distanced itself from the idea that the zero-calorie, plant-derived sweeteners should entirely replace either sugar or artificial sweeteners, although in some applications this is possible. Instead, several major stevia suppliers have aligned themselves with the sugar industry – a situation that holds appeal for both. Combinations of sugar and stevia can reduce calories by up to 50 percent while retaining much of the functionality of sugar and a more sucrose-like flavor, and such blends open a new reduced-calorie market for the sugar industry.

CEO of Sucrogen Ian Glasson said: “Sugar Australia has chosen to partner with GLG in the food and beverage sector to bring a new and exciting range of stevia ingredients as part of our range of sweetener solutions, particularly as manufacturers seek alternatives in developing healthier products that meet consumers’ changing needs.”

Sugar Australia is Australia’s largest sugar refiner, and it signed a binding memorandum of understanding with GLG Life Tech back in April. The deal has now been finalized with an initial term of five years, to be automatically extended for another five, subject to certain conditions. The agreement provides mutual exclusivity dependent on GLG product purchase levels, to be agreed on a year-by-year basis.

CEO of GLG Life Tech Dr. Luke Zhang said: “GLG has chosen to partner with several market leaders such as Sugar Australia with whom we believe we can work to effectively reach consumers and to market what we believe to be the highest quality, best tasting stevia extracts at a great value and competitive price structure.”

Zhang added that such partnerships are driven by a growing global market for stevia, as consumers demand more reduced-calorie, ‘better-for-you’ product choices.

The Sugar Australia agreement is the latest of several partnerships entered into by GLG Life Tech. In April, GLG also signed a definitive agreement with Essentia Stevia for distribution of its stevia-derived sweeteners in 18 South American countries. And in May the company signed a memorandum of understanding with India-based Global AgriSystem Private Limited, a Katra Group company, to pursue the commercialization of stevia sweeteners in India.

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