Stevia specialist PureCircle has expanded its presence in Latin America with the opening of a new facility in Mexico City.
PureCircle Mexico will bring the firm “closer to our customers, so we’re in a better position to provide faster product development support to them,” said Mauricio Bacigaluppo, vice president sales Latin America.
“Customer service, sales, technical and application specialists are all now located in the region.”
According to Mintel, more than 100 stevia-sweetened products have launched in Latin America in the past year from carbonated soft drinks, powdered beverage mixes, flavored milks and yogurt to table top sweeteners, he said.
“Consumers have been receptive to these lower-calorie products sweetened with stevia. And they’re not just ‘lite’ or ‘diet’ products. Mainstream, conventional products are launching with stevia. As a result, the market is very dynamic and growing.
“At our new laboratory in Mexico D.F., we’ll be inviting customers to participate in PureCircle University seminars, so they can benefit from our technical and applications knowledge of stevia sweetening solutions within their own food and beverage matrices.”
Notable expansion in Latin America with Fanta, Fresca and Sprite reformulations in Mexico
PureCircle - which aims to commercialize two next generation stevia products in 2014 (Reb D and Reb X) - posted a (much reduced) net loss of $9.4m in the year to June 30, while sales surged 57% to $71.2m.
Although sales “still remain modest compared to our invested production capacity” said chairman Paul Selway-Swift, “further improvements in profitability should arise as volumes increases".
In 2013, bosses had seen the “first tangible market indications of stevia developing into a mainstream ingredient”, he added.
“Notable expansion took place in Latin America with Fanta, Fresca and Sprite reformulations in Mexico; and in June Coca-Cola Life was launched in Argentina."