This week, the company announced that its Truvia calorie-free sweetener became the first stevia-based sweetener to be awarded product carbon footprint certification, via the the UK-based Carbon Trust.
“Consumers are increasingly looking at sustainability and environmental programs of products and brands they are purchasing,” Mark Brooks, global consumer products director for the Truvia brand told us.
“Carbon neutrality is important as part of an overall program to help steward natural resources. As customers look to reduce their environmental footprint, they are increasingly looking at sourcing ingredients from businesses that are also making important contributions to reducing their environmental impacts.
“More importantly, we want to stay ahead of emerging demands. We didn’t want to wait until we were asked about it but we wanted to do what we think is right for the long-term.”
Steviol glycosides – the extract of the leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana – are a group of intense sweeteners. The ingredient received a letter of no objection from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008, with Coca-Cola and Cargill instrumental in this vital development.
The sweetener is performing impressively in select markets around the world. “Truvia sweetener is the number one zero-calorie natural sweetener in the U.S., UK, and Venezuela, and available in Mexico and select European markets after opening this new category of sweetness,” said Brooks.
“With the market opening in Canada, Truvia sweetener is the only stevia brand to be available across North America, Venezuela and select countries in Europe in 2013. The Truvia brand has attracted new consumers to the market and grown a previously stagnant retail category of sugar substitute sweeteners by more than 20%.”
While the launch of stevia-based products has been more of a trickle than the anticipated flood, Brooks added that nearly half of all US families have a stevia-sweetened product in their pantry today.
“With the opening of new markets (ie Canada, Mexico and others), we see increased demand for additional natural, stevia-based products.”
In addition, the market is seeing increasing product introductions from customers, he said. “For example, Truvia sweetener can be found in over 30 Coca-Cola products around the world, include VitaminWater Zero, Sprite and Nestea.”
Brooks said that sustainability is at the core of the Truvia business and the company has set ambitious goals to ensure that it has a sustainable field to table supply chain.
“Working with Carbon Trust to certify our carbon footprint was important to ensure that we were open and transparent about our work and progress,” he said.
The company started by undertaking a life-cycle analysis to identify the major environmental impact areas in the Truvia value chain, and the analysis brought four key areas to the forefront, he said: Greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste and land management.
As such the company’s commitments are focused on:
- Reducing its carbon footprint by 50% in 2015 from a 2010 baseline to become carbon neutral in 2020.
- Ensuring all processed water is returned in the same quality in which it was taken and reducing net depletion by 25% by 2020.
- Reducing waste by 50% across the supply chain in 2015 in efforts to become zero waste by 2020.
- Ensuring our stevia is not grown on conservation or protected land.
“The journey of bringing Truvia sweetener from Field to Table began with a desire to embed sustainable practices throughout the value chain,” said Brooks.
“The infancy of the industry gave us an unparalleled opportunity to build a globally-managed sustainable supply chain from scratch.”