Stevia is now being grown in 15 countries across four continents for PureCircle and the company has entered partnerships with a number of sugar companies around the world, including Imperial Sugar in the US and British Sugar in the UK. This latest partnership is a 50:50 joint venture between Tereos and PureCircle, to be called Tereos PureCircle Solutions.
The new partnership will develop and market sugar/stevia blends in Tereos’ core European markets of France, Belgium, Czech Republic and Italy, as well as non-exclusively in other European markets, including Switzerland, the companies said.
“Operating from Tereos offices in France, Tereos PureCircle Solutions will access Tereos’ facilities, application centre and distribution infrastructure. This will be supported by PureCircle’s global stevia supply chain, R&D and innovation leadership,” the companies said in a joint statement.
In France, the stevia extract Reb A has been approved for use in foods and beverages at 97 percent purity or above since September 2009, and they are widely expected to be approved elsewhere in Europe following a positive opinion from the European Food Safety Authority in the spring. The US Food and Drug Administration has issued letters of non-objection to stevia suppliers in the United States saying that their stevia extracts are generally recognized as safe (GRAS), and many other countries adhere to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) standard, which approves the use of steviol glycosides at 95 per cent purity or above.
The Tereos PureCircle Solutions’ cooperation agreement also aims to expand the market for stevia/sugar blends in Brazil and beyond, taking advantage of Tereos Internacional subsidiary Guarani, which is a major exporter of high grade refined sugar from Brazil.
“The cooperation agreement will also enable the main Boards of Tereos and PureCircle to access wider strategic opportunities as they arise. This is likely to include development of high purity stevia extracts and glucose based sweetener combinations,” the companies said.