Coca-Cola and Cargill have announced that they plan to begin using a stevia sweetener in their products. Stevia will be found in products that are sold in countries where stevia has been approved. In 2007 Coca-Cola and Cargill announced that they were excited to create their own stevia sweetener that they would call Rebiana.
Stevia: The Natural Sweetener of the Future?
Stevia is a natural sweetener that has gained the interest of many in recent years. This sweetener comes from a plant that is native to South America. The plant has shown the capability to provide natural sweetness to products and would easily be able to pull its weight against the current artificial sweeteners already on the market. The only thing currently holding stevia back is that it has only been approved in a handful of countries for commercial use, including Japan, Brazil, and China, but the United States, Canada, and Europe have yet to give the nod to the substance as a food additive.
Despite not yet being approved, Coca-Cola and Cargill were excited about the idea of using Stevia in their beverages. The tide is turning and more and more consumers are looking for more wholesome, natural products and many market analysts believe that Coca-Cola will be setting a trend by looking outside of the artificial sweeteners that are currently available. In hopes of getting such products in production and onto store shelves Coca-Cola filed 24 different patent applications for the ingredient and the two companies are expected to petition the US Food and Drug Administration for approval in the near future.
While the patents and use of the ingredient have not yet been approved in the United States, the corporate duo will not wait to start their marketing. Coca-Cola and Cargill have said that they will start marketing Rebiana and products made with the ingredient where there is already approval and then they will simply take this marketing strategy elsewhere as regulations change. A Cargill spokesman said, “We will sell in the markets where regulatory approval already exists and we’ll work through the paths for regulatory approval in other countries around the world, including the US,” which proves that the companies are excited about taking their interest in this product to a very commercial and successful level. The representative went on to say that stevia will not only be used in beverages, but also in different foods.
Coca-Cola is expected to have the initial rights to use Rebiana in their beverages but then the pair of companies is expected to make the ingredient available for use in other products. Basically, the market will be wide open for use with this stevia based product and many food and beverage manufacturers in the west are simply keeping their fingers crossed waiting for the substance to be approved so they can start marketing more natural but great tasting products to their customers.
The creation of Rebiana/stevia sweetener is not just one that will benefit Coca-Cola and Cargill as this is a product that will be widely available, if it is approved by the FDA. It will give manufactures a less obvious choice when they are looking to make their food and beverage items more appealing to those that don’t want calories but do want something that tastes good and doesn’t have artificial sweeteners. Many market analysts believe that the USDA will follow the countries that have approved it and allow for Rebiana, a stevia based sweetener, to begin being used in the very near future. This is no doubt a development that should be exciting for manufacturers of these products as well as for those that consume them!