The company strives to make stevia a mainstream ingredient. The major expansion will allow the company to increase its production capacity two-fold and to prioritise in efficient extraction and processing from stevia leaves that have been grown sustainably.
“PureCircle is committed to a substantial ongoing investment programme to ensure that our customers — global food and beverages brands — have year-round access to the highest quality stevia leaf extract that is consistent, sustainably grown and made from the best tasting stevia plant varieties,” said Magomet Malsagov, CEO of PureCircle.
Stevia is an alternative sweetener which does not add calories and it is different than most other sugar substitutes as it is derived from a plant. Stevia is commonly used to sweeten drinks or mixed into food like cereal, yogurt and oatmeal. The new facility includes a line specifically designed for the company’s zeta family ingredients, consisting of sugar-like steviol glycosides such as reb M and reb d which allows for higher calorie reductions by food and beverage companies.
Steviol glycosides are the chemical compounds responsible for the sweet taste of the leaves. The most commonly used steviol glycoside, reb A, can be extracted from the stevia leaf in commercial quantities, but it has a bitter aftertaste. There are better tasting steviol glycosides such as reb D and reb M are present in the stevia leaf too, but these are present only in very small quantities. The industry is now looking to improve the overall taste of food and beverages with reb D and reb M, over the conventional reb A.
“PureCircle is a significant force for good on the global stage for not only reducing calories but also in the overall fight against obesity,” said Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, minister of Energy, Green Technology & Water, Datuk Seri Panglima.