Cargill partnership aims to set stevia standard

By By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Stevia

Cargill has entered into an exclusive agreement with ChromaDex to ensure quality and consistency of the natural sweetener stevia, as ingredients companies scrabble for position in an emerging market.

ChromaDex, which develops analytical standards for ingredients, said that under the agreement it will supply global analytical reference standards and research materials for the individual sweet components of stevia.

Cargill recently introduced its own Truvia brand of rebiana which is from the leaves of the stevia plant.

The analytical tools are expected to be used by Cargill in its production process to make sure quality benchmarks are met and ChromaDex said the partnership means food and beverage companies can validate stevia-derived rebiana for use in consumer products.

Zanna McFerson, business director Truvia natural sweetener, said: “For rebiana, we not only developed the specifications for this new sweetener, but we also created the methods and systems to insure that our product is consistent each and every time for our customers and consumers.”

Cargill would not comment any further but the new deal appears to be a pre-emptive move by the company to ensure quality standards in a market place that has seen a flurry of activity in recent months as ingredients companies jostle for position.

Frank Jaksch, CEO and co-founder of ChromaDex, said “Not all stevia sweeteners are created equal, and it will be important for companies using stevia ingredients to select the right standards and analytical methods in differentiating products that meet requirements for food use.

“By partnering with Cargill, ChromaDex now offers an extensive range of stevia-related sweet compounds as analytical reference standards or research materials.”

ChromaDex said that previously there were no accepted standards of identity for food and beverage companies to use to evaluate stevia-based products.

It added: “These new analytical reference methods will provide that industry standards set for rebiana meet specifications of consistency and quality.”

Food and beverage use

Stevia is permitted for sale in the US as a dietary supplement on the basis of its low glycemic index but is yet to have FDA (Food and Drug Administration) GRAS status for use in food and beverages.

Coca-Cola recently teamed up with Cargill to use Truvia, which is already available online as a table-top sweetener. Cargill and Merisant have notified the FDA that rebiana should be GRAS and the outcome is pending.

Meanwhile PureCircle recently signed agreements with Pepsico and Whole Earth Sweetener Company (a subsidiary of Merisant Company) to supply high purity Reb-A under the PureVia brand.

And Sunwin International Neutraceuticals, which produces zero calorie stevia in China, recently expressed its hopes for the FDA to acknowledge stevia as GRAS, a move which it expects to triple stevia sales.

However, the US's largest supplier of stevia, Wisdom Natural Brands, has said that its stevia-based sweetener Sweet Leaf is self-affirmed GRAS, without FDA notification, and the ingredient would be available in soda or food products by the end of the year.

ChromaDex, based in California, provides dietary supplement, food, beverage and nutraceutical industries with the analytical tools to meet the regulatory, quality, efficacy and safety standards for their products.

It currently has standards for over 3000 products, which include a P57 standard for the appetite suppressant ingredient hoodia; a punicalagins standard for pomegranate; as well as a range of standards for stevia.

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