PureCircle, who produce and market stevia ingredients, has announced what the company described as “a major milestone” in the global expansion of its supply chain reach.
Several recent commercial scale shipments of stevia leaf have marked successful stevia cultivation and sourcing operations for PureCircle in Paraguay, Kenya and the United States, diversifying its supply base as stevia use broadens globally.
The commercialization of stevia in these regions is, according to the company, an important step toward PureCircle’s future model of localising its supply chain to service major markets.
PureCircle’s developments in Kenya, Paraguay and the United States add to the company’s global leaf supply. Stevia is native to Paraguay, where PureCircle’s South American subsidiary began commercial-scale leaf shipments to PureCircle extraction facilities in early January 2012 and has continued to ship regularly since then.
New developments in the region include trials with mechanised harvesting technology to improve harvesting efficiency for farmers and the recycling of stevia biomass into organic fertilizer for stevia fields. PureCircle has partnered with Paraguayan farmers to plant over 36 million seedlings to date.
Kenya has ideal growing conditions for proprietary varieties of PureCircle stevia and PureCircle’s wholly-owned subsidiary operation will serve as a future hub to supply Europe, Middle East and African markets.
In the US, PureCircle said that it is focused on progressing stevia agricultural knowledge and improving processes in mass scale farming techniques for stevia cultivation, believing that progressing localised production of stevia will be critical for its wide scale adoption and will improve the environmental footprint of their stevia ingredients.
“The strategic growth of leaf development supports our long-term vision for a sustainable, consistent supply of high quality stevia that can be scaled and localized to meet growing global market demand,” said Fernando Chilavert, managing director, PureCircle South America.
The long-term development of these regions has accelerated the implementation of PureCircle’s leaf breeding program, in which diverse varieties of stevia are being conventionally bred to best suit the growing regions and improve the quality and yield of steviol glycosides, the sweet components extracted from the stevia leaf.
“Across global markets, we are seeing steady growth in demand with larger brands launching with stevia,“ said Jason Hecker, global VP marketing and innovation, PureCircle. “It is essential that they can count on a supply chain with reliable, mass scale stevia supply. Our investment in strategic regions around the world has prepared us with a global leaf supply that will rapidly scale over time with the needs of our growing customer base.”