- Sunwin Stevia International Inc. has entered an operation agreement to develop a U.S. distribution center in order to more effectively distribute its stevia extracts to clients.
- The global supplier of extracts, including Rebaudioside A98 and Rebaudioside A99, will lower shipping time from a typical time frame of 60 days down to one to two days. Lengthy shipping times have been a barrier to increased sales of the company’s stevia extracts to North American clients.
- Qufu Shengren Pharmaceutical Co., Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sunwin Stevia, will run the center with a U.S. partner. The distribution center will also serve the South American market.
Sunwin Stevia’s move is in response to the increase in demand in the United States for sweeteners with ingredients that are natural, sustainable, and low-calorie.
The market for stevia plant-based sweeteners has skyrocketed since 2009, when the FDA approved stevia as a foodstuff, acting as a natural sweetener to replace sugars in beverages and foods. Persistence Market Research estimates the global stevia market will reach $565.2 million by 2020.
The market potential for stevia is vast, and the product is expected to become the sweetener of choice for food and beverage companies, Kevin Sherman, CMO, TrueDrinks, told Food Dive. The stevia plant is sustainable and grows almost anywhere in the world, which was one reason Cargill has jumped into the marketplace with its EverSweet product. And, in an effort to create "innovative stevia solutions that inspire healthy living," Sweet Green Fields merged with its supplier, Zhejiang Green World through EPC Natural Products, a leader in the development and production of active natural ingredients.
Companies are also overcoming the natural bitter taste of the stevia plant. In December, PureCircle introduced its zeta family of stevia ingredients, which it says removes the bitterness found in most products containing stevia.