Stevia First looks to transform sugary beverage consumption

30 Mar 2015

Stevia First has announced key technology development and sales collaborations intended to transform sugary beverage consumption in Mexico and Latin America. The company has initiated the development of technology and outreach efforts aimed at enabling widespread transformation of bottling operations in Mexico by targeting effective methods to shift large scale beverage industry suppliers away from […]

Stevia First looks to transform sugary beverage consumption

stevia-sugar-brown-bowl-40539976Stevia First has announced key technology development and sales collaborations intended to transform sugary beverage consumption in Mexico and Latin America.

The company has initiated the development of technology and outreach efforts aimed at enabling widespread transformation of bottling operations in Mexico by targeting effective methods to shift large scale beverage industry suppliers away from sugar-loaded sodas in the country. These efforts are being led at Stevia First by Fernando Rodriguez Orozco, a senior process engineer who has worked exclusively within the Coca-Cola supply chain in Mexico for 20 years, including the installation of sugar processing facilities that total more than 300 thousand tons of annual production.

The company’s development focus is intended to rapidly enable and train bottlers in Mexico on how to transform from sugar-loaded drinks to lower-calorie options including products enabled with stevia. Stevia First is introducing novel processing steps that reduce the risk of product contamination compared to methods used commonly by overseas stevia producers today, the company said. The company also is developing methods that could enable beverage makers to more cost-effectively use stevia with cane sugar, a hallmark, Said Stevia First, of Mexican Coke. These methods may be implemented at existing sugar processing facilities, and are intended for contract supply from the proposed first dedicated stevia processing facilities in North America, which the Company plans to construct in California.

As detailed in a 2013 report by Credit Suisse, Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of death in Mexico. The country ranks second in the world in adult obesity, first in type 2 diabetes, and fourth in infant obesity. Mexico ranks second globally in added sugar consumption per person and second in the amount of soft drinks consumed per person. Approximately 95% of soft drinks consumed are full-calorie, sugar-loaded drinks. As a result, in 2014 a nationwide tax on sugary drinks went into effect.

“Sugar-sweetened beverage taxes and increasing public health awareness is leading to marked shifts in consumer habits in Mexico, the U.S., and elsewhere,” said Robert Brooke, CEO of Stevia First. “As a company, we are positioned ideally to enable these healthy changes through the use of stevia in particular, which as a zero-calorie natural sweetener we believe will be part of the solution for decades to come.”