PureCircle has provided an update on the rapid expansion of its stevia supply in the U.S. as S&W Seed Company nears completion and drying of stevia leaf in its first commercial level harvest. S&W plans to expand stevia plantings in California by the spring of 2012.
PureCircle, the world’s leading producer of high purity stevia products, entered into a five-year agreement with S&W Seed Company (Nasdaq: SANW), Five Points, California, last August. S&W and its subsidiary, Stevia California, are closer to providing a U.S.-based supply of stevia leaves capable of supporting the growing demand for stevia by consumers and the food and beverage companies serving them.
The agreement also advances PureCircle toward establishment of stevia leaf production “as close to our end markets as possible, reducing the energy footprint of the industry and supporting the sustainability of stevia growers,” as MagometMalsagov, CEO and Managing Director of PureCircle, stated in announcing the original agreement last August.
"Food and beverage companies are looking to maximize their use of locally grown ingredients, so having S&W as a partner is an important step for our corner of the globe," says Mike Wolff, North American Vice President of Sales for PureCircle USA.
Following a successful harvest on the first 85-acre planting this past spring, S&W plans to expand the PureCircle crop this fall and next spring.
“With stevia by PureCircle, we have gained a high-value crop that should have sustained growth in the North American market,” says Mark Grewal, President and CEO for S&W. “We have the people, know-how and resources to turn a successful stevia crop into a high-value food ingredient with sustained, high-volume growth.”
The partnership is poised for long-term synergy based on PureCircle’s expertise in research and development and supply chain management, as well as S&W’s track record as a global leader in warm climate, high yield varieties of alfalfa seeds.
Partnering with S&W is consistent with PureCircle’s strategic goal of cultivating a diversified, global supply of high purity stevia, and builds on PureCircle’s existing agricultural operations spanning more than 15 countries across four continents. Additionally, S&W’s state-of-the-art operations – including germination, transplanting, combine harvesting and water-conserving drip irrigation – ensure quality and sustainability while creating process efficiencies.
Looking forward, S&W’s long-term relationships with California cooperative farmers across the Central Valley bode well for production of stevia by PureCircle across thousands of acres as the food and beverage industry responds to consumer demand for natural, lower-calorie sweet solutions.
Additionally, California plantings are set to broaden with multiple breeds of stevia by PureCircle, including proprietary varieties, which produce a higher yield of sweet glycoside content per pound of leaf. This holds promise for greater agricultural and processing efficiencies as well as reduced costs.
PureCircle (www.purecircle.com) is the global leader in the production of high purity stevia products. PureCircle is leading the industry with the development of a strong sustainable natural supply chain. Stevia is now being grown for PureCircle in more than 15 countries across South America, Africa, Asia and the United States; it provides a sustainable cash crop for rural farming communities in each region. As part of its leadership of the stevia industry, PureCircle has pioneered the industry trust mark Stevia PureCircle® that educates consumers about the benefits of Stevia and provides a strong base of trust for both consumers and Food & Beverage companies alike. PureCircle’s global headquarters are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PureCircle shares are traded on the LSE AIM index.
About S&W Seed Company
Founded in 1980 and headquartered in the Central Valley of California, S&W Seed Company is a global leader in warm climate, high yield alfalfa seed varieties, including varieties that can thrive in poor, saline soils, as verified over decades of university-sponsored trials. S&W also offers seed cleaning and processing at its 40-acre facility in Five Points, California. In fiscal 2010, the Company launched a business expansion initiative centered on mass producing stevia leaf in the U.S. in response to growing global demand for the all-natural, zero calorie sweeteners from the food and beverage industry. For more information, please visit www.swseedco.com.