- Sweegen, Inc. is hopeful its new non-caloric and high purity stevia sweetener Bestevia Reb-M could be a substitute for companies being taxes on their high-sugar product, according to FoodIngredientsFirst.
- The company said a major global beverage company was using Sweegen's Bestevia Reb-M in its large-scale trial for one of its bottled beverages.
- Steven Chen, president of Sweegen, said the sweetner is being tested by "major" food and beverage, confectionery, dairy and flavor and fragrance companies, but is not available yet to consumers.
Sweegen uses its proprietary bioconversion technologies to produce high-quality sweetener ideal for food and beverage applications. Bestevia Reb-M is the first sweetener to be commercially available using bioconversion — a process that converts organic matter such as plants into a source of energy using microorganisms.
The fact that an unnamed soft drink company is utilizing the ingredient shows there is interest in its potential. Still, it remains to be seen whether food and other companies testing the sweetener decide to introduce products available to consumers and if shoppers like the taste.
The stevia plant, which has been used for more than 1,500 years, is popular with consumers who are cutting their sugar intake but still want a natural sweetener. The global stevia market is growing, with an estimated market size of $337.7 million in 2015. Nearly 35% of it goes toward beverages.
Studies have touted stevia's numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and helping to fight diabetes. One study compared sucrose aspartame and stevia and found stevia lowered both blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal, compared to the other two sweeteners.