Promising stevia sales ahead of GRAS

By By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Stevia

Sales of a stevia supplement across the US could hint at the potential demand for the natural sweetener in food and beverages as GRAS notification is expected within days.

Zevia LLC said that its zero-calorie carbonated product called Zevia, which is billed as an alternative to diet sodas, is now ranked as the number two brand overall and the number one growth driver in its category in the US, according to SPINScan Natural RMS.

Spins is a division of AC Nielsen which monitors Natural Product Industry sales across retail channels.

Zevia believes stevia is poised to have an important impact on the US food industry and it is already widely accepted as an alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Jeff Taylor, Zevia's national sales manager, said: “Zevia is the first and only zero-calorie brand that can claim to be truly all-natural. That’s a big reason Zevia sales are expanding so quickly.”

A spokesman for Zevia would not reveal sales figures as it is a private company. However, he added that in March its stevia products were in just a handful of stores and now they are in about 1,400. This is expected to double or tripple next year.

GRAS status

Stevia is permitted for sale in the US as a dietary supplement on the basis of its low glycemic index but it does not have FDA (Food and Drug Administration) GRAS status for use in food and beverages.

The Malaysia-based company PureCircle said in mid-September that it expects an FDA no-objection letter for Reb-A, made from stevia leaves, within two months. This means there could be an announcement of FDA GRAS within days.

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.

Merisant and Cargill have notified the FDA that rebiana should be GRAS and the outcome is pending.

Zevia is available in four flavors; natural cola, natural lemon-lime twist, natural orange, and natural ginger root beer). Retailers selling the brand include QFC (Kroger NW Division) and Whole Foods Southeast Region.

A spokesperson for Spins would not confirm the figures quoted by Zevia LLC, saying that they could not provide brand-level data to the press.

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