European Union finally approves stevia14 November 2011
The EU regulation allowing the use of extracts of stevia rebaudiana has finally been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Effective December 2nd, it will be permitted to use steviol glycosides in food and beverages.
The announcement has been long anticipated, as there is considerable interest – and investment – in the no-calorie, natural sweetener. Since stevia was declared GRAS (generally recognised as safe) in the United States in December 2008, it has achieved close to 10% of the US sugars and sweeteners market, with sales expected to increase six-fold from around $200 million in 2010 to $1.2 billion this year. Significantly – because many industry observers believe that stevia must first succeed in the tabletop market before it becomes more widely accepted – it has achieved 23% of that market in the US.
Since stevia was introduced in Japan in 1970, following restrictions on artificial sweeteners, it is said to have achieved 40% market share.
“This is a very important day for the stevia industry, food and beverage manufacturers and consumers in Europe,” said Jordi Ferre, President Commercial Division for PureCircle Limited. “Stevia, the no-calorie, natural sweetener, will play an important role in addressing consumer interest in healthier diets and sustainable ingredients, as well as to help offset rising commodity costs for our customers.”
Stevia is used as an alternative to artificial sweeteners, sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The stevia/sweetener industry still faces challenges, however. Inevitably, awareness among the general public is not high – although PureCircle reported that it had reached 47% in France after the use of stevia there was approved temporarily in 2009. Perhaps a bigger challenge will lie in consistency of consumer experience: many manufacturers are still trying to identify the optimum formulation with some early products having been criticised for their strong taste of licorice.
Stevia Webinar: The next steps post European approval
8 December 2011 | 2pm GMT / 3pm CET / 9am EST
Join our first free-to-attend stevia webinar in association with WILD Flavors. Explore new regulations and post-approval market potential from the comfort of your desk.
Register free now at www.fi-stevia.com
Stevia 2012 Conference: Capitalising on European regulatory approval
12-13 April 2012, London
We brought our annual stevia conference forward to give you the first quarter response to the newly-opened stevia market in Europe: assess successes, optimise opportunities and overcome challenges.
Register your interest at www.fi-stevia.com
Food ingredients Istanbul
Fi Asia China
Fi South America