Stevia supplier PureCircle has extended its supply agreement with PepsiCo for another three years, the company has announced on its website.
The supply agreement has been extended on a global basis to at least June 30, 2014, PureCircle said. PepsiCo uses the company’s PureVia-brand Reb A in SoBe Lifewater and its Trop50 low-calorie orange and apple juice drinks.
PureCircle CEO Magomet Malsagov said: “PepsiCo is our largest customer. The three year contract extension provides the basis to further develop the range of stevia sweetened products available to consumers in the USA and internationally.”
Product launches gradually began to emerge in the US after the FDA issued letters of no objection that Reb A, the high purity stevia extract, was GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for use in foods and beverages in December 2008.
PepsiCo & PureVia in Canada
PepsiCo also launched Aquafina Plus Vitamins 10 Cal as the first mainstream stevia-sweetened beverage in Canada near the end of 2009, also sweetened with PureCircle’s Reb A, although stevia extracts are not currently approved for use in foods and beverages in Canada.
The Canadian regulatory process requires companies looking to launch stevia-sweetened products to approve the sweetener as a food additive under the country’s Food and Drug Regulations. However, PepsiCo found a different route by which it launched its Aquafina beverage: Vitamin waters are considered to be natural health products in Canada.
A spokesperson for Health Canada told FoodNavigator-USA that due to its vitamin content, Aquafina Plus Vitamins 10 Cal could be assessed under natural health product rules.
Health Canada also said that it has received information that has caused it to review the safety of Reb A as a food additive, adding “the examination of the use of stevia extracts as food additives must be triggered by a request from a petitioner, which would typically be a member of the food industry.”