Cargill ad campaign to prepare market for stevia

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Advertising

Cargill has begun a nationwide marketing drive to promote Truvia, its brand of natural, zero calorie stevia sweetener.

The tabletop sweetener was launched this summer but now Cargill is rolling out a marketing campaign to target health-conscious consumers, particularly women, with network television and national consumer print and online advertising.

Cargill developed the Truvia brand, made with rebiana (Reb A) derived from the stevia leaf, in partnership with Coca-Cola.

It is an ingredient for use in foods and beverages, as well as a tabletop sweetener. However, a decision on stevia’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status for use in food and beverages is pending.

Meanwhile the ad campaign, specifically for the tabletop variety, comes amid speculation that Coca-Cola plans to market three flavors of a juice drink in its Odwalla line sweetened with stevia this week. Coca-Cola has declined to comment.

Natural sweetness

One of the Truvia adverts includes the tagline “honestly sweet” ​and “from a miracle of nature, not chemistry”.

Zanna McFerson, director at Cargill Health & Nutrition, said “Through research, we found that consumers are trying to live more balanced lives but have a complicated relationship with sweeteners.

“The marketing campaign to launch Truvia tabletop sweetener is designed to inform consumers that for the first time, there is a natural great tasting zero calorie sweetener that comes from a leaf, not a lab.”

Cargill teamed up with advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather (Chicago) for the Truvia campaign which looked at the relationship women have with sweetness.

Donna Charlton Perrin, group creative director and partner, Ogilvy, said: “The advertising campaign recognizes that sweeteners often come with a healthy side serving of guilt or compromise.

“To atone for dessert, you run extra miles on the treadmill. To reduce calories, you sacrifice taste and forgo the natural for the artificial.”

The suggestion is that Truvia is guilt and compromise-free.

The campaign includes four 30-second television ads which focus on simple, close-up images of the stevia leaf.

Cargill said television spots will air nationally on network and cable television. Print and online ads will run on media properties focused on women and wellness.

It will also include coupons, in-store and consumer sampling programs, and an interactive campaign on the website, Truvia.com.

Stevia is permitted for sale in the US as a dietary supplement on the basis of its low glycemic index.

The Malaysian company PureCircle recently secured an extension to its agreement with Cargill to supply Reb-A until mid-2010.

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