Transparency only way to communicate EverSweet's benefits, Cargill says

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Stevia

Cargill conquered the technical challenges of bringing a fermented Reb D/Reb M stevia ingredient to market. Clearing the consumer acceptance hurdle was best handled by being as transparent as possible about the ingredient, a company executive said.

Scott Fabro, global business director for Cargill, spoke with FoodNavigator-USA as the recent Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas, NV.  Fabro said Cargill did a lot of research on how consumers might view an ingredient made from fermentation before decided to bring out its new EverSweet brand. 

Transparency first

“In the zero calorie products, consumers have expressed a concern about some of the sweeteners in the marketplace and they are looking for an alternative. EverSweet was born from those questions,” ​Fabro said.

Fabro said that Cargill conducted focus groups on the new sweetener with consumers across the country and came up with a favorable reaction.

“We asked what their views of our sweetener would be on a sweetener continuum. If you think about one side, the all natural, to the fully synthetic—this molecule does not occur in nature—there a place where this product falls and there is a place where stevia extracts fall,”​ he said.

“In that continuum Cargill wants to be transparent about how this ingredient is produced.  About how we take traits from the stevia plant and put them into bakers yeast to produce our sweetener,”​ Fabro said.

A mixture of the steviol glycosides Reb M and Red D have been hit upon as the best way to deal with stevia’s well-documented taste issues when applied in a zero calorie application.

Cargill developed the fermentation technology to produce the new ingredient in concert with partner Evolva.  Some competitors have claimed that a better approach is to breed new varieties of stevia that naturally express higher levels of Reb D and Reb M, which at present make up 3% or less of the leaf.  Fabro said he doubts that approach will ever reach market viability.

“You’d have to believe that in a very short time you could increase those concentrations by 600%. And then you’d still be at twice the price of Reb A,”​ he said.

Read more about EverSweet HERE​.

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