Innovations in stevia production will accelerate sustainability for food and beverage companies

Published: 17-Aug-2022

New study shows that Reb M stevia innovations offer great tasting sugar reduction options while simultaneously reducing the negative impact on the environment

Ingredion has revealed the results of its most comprehensive environmental life cycle assessment of stevia.

The global study was conducted to better understand the sustainability of stevia across its product lifecycle compared with full-caloric options including cane sugar, beet sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and identify opportunities to improve the environmental performance of PureCircle by Ingredion’s stevia portfolio.

“Our latest findings clearly show that all of our stevia production methods consistently outperform sugar across four key sustainability metrics owing to recent innovations in Reb M stevia production,” said Kurt Callaghan, global strategic director for sugar reduction at Ingredion.

“Reb M has enabled mass market adoption of stevia by delivering great tasting food and beverage products. Our bioconversion and fermentation capabilities will allow the industry to achieve the same great taste at an even more affordable price while dramatically improving the environmental impacts.”

The findings show fermentation and bioconversion technologies have significantly improved the sustainability of Reb M — a next-generation stevia sweetener from PureCircle by Ingredion. For example, fermented Sugarcane Reb M production reduces negative climate change impact by 82% compared to sugar, while bioconversion shows a 50% reduction.

New production methods have scaled Reb M, making it more readily available to food and beverage companies of all sizes. These innovations allow brands to capitalize on the latest consumer-driven nutrition, health and wellness trends, offering sugar reduction options which support wellness and sustainable lifestyle choices.

Reb M is increasingly used as a sweetener in food and beverage formulations. PureCircle by Ingredion works side-by-side with product developers to evolve the taste performance beyond early generation stevia and become a preferred sugar alternative of choice for consumers.

The lifecycle assessment is a methodology used to quantify potential environmental impacts associated with the lifecycle of a product or service, from cradle to grave.

The proprietary study measured the environmental impacts of sweeteners derived from stevia leaves from their extraction and processing to their distribution to consumers, using environmental indicators which includes climate change, land use, water scarcity and cumulative energy demand.

PureCircle by Ingredion’s lifecycle assessment is currently taking the extra step and undergoing peer review to achieve compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an independent organisation and standardisation process offering food and beverage manufacturers data that has a level of credibility not found anywhere else among stevia producers.

Such validation will enable Ingredion to deliver unique tools (sustainability calculators) to help manufacturers understand the environmental impacts of their sweeteners.

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