The ranks of stevia suppliers in the US have swelled in 2009, since major players Cargill and Merisant received GRAS no objection letters from the FDA last December for stevia extracts with 95 per cent rebaudioside A or more. Other players seeking to spear their share of the potential include Blue California (which received its FDA notification in July), PureCirlce, GLG and Wisdom Natural Brands.
The newest comer is AHD International, which has partnered with Tokyo-based Maruzen Pharmaceutical to take its extract to the US.
The company says testing on its extract by ChromaDex found it to have a Reb A content of 95.8 per cent.
“Maruzen’s long-term commitment to research and bringing superior ingredients to market, when combined with AHD International’s competitive price points, make this Japanese-sourced offering a welcome addition to North American finished good manufacturers,” said AHD president John Alkire.
Although the company nods to the no objections given by the FDA to others and says it has confidence in the market potential, it AHD has not yet self-affirmed GRAS status for its stevia nor received FDA no objection of its own.
Sweet Green Fields notification
The latest company to receive a no objection letter from the FDA is Sweet Green Fields (SGF), which has been active in the stevia market for over a decade. (Prior to the go-ahead for the use of high purity stevia extracts in foods, extracts could be used in dietary supplements on the basis of its low glycemic index).
The company submitted its notification to the FDA in January this year, and its no objection letter relates to material extracted using its own patented process which was devised by VP of science Dr Mel Jackson.
SGF has shown prototypes containing its stevia extracts, including candy, colas, chocolate, cookies, ice cream, yoghurt, fruit drinks and teas.
It is continuing its R&D, including trialling it in reduced sugar formulations which, as well as being less calorific, could help manufacturers save costs.