In the days since the announcement on Friday, Nov. 30, established stevia suppliers in the United States have already reported a significant increase in communication from food and beverage manufacturers looking to roll out reduced-calorie formulations to the Canadian marketplace.
One such stevia company is Florida-based Pyure Brands, LLC, a leading supplier of high-purity all-natural and organic steviol glycoside extracts and advanced blends.
“The flurry of activity was immediate,” said Benjamin Fleischer, founder and CEO. “Our phones started ringing on Friday, and the calls haven’t slowed down since. The approval of stevia in Canada has opened the floodgates.”
In anticipation of the approval, stevia suppliers have worked diligently over the past two years to establish a distribution network with strong ties to Canada.
“Our distributors are ready to go,” said Philip Coggins, national sales manager for Pyure Brands. “They have product, and they are already working to establish new accounts. We expect to have our table top stevia sweeteners on Canadian shelves early in 2013.”
New product applications should follow closely behind. Like the stevia suppliers, manufacturers have been developing stevia-based products in anticipation of the approval.
“Several Canadian firms that we have been in contact with in recent days already have products late in the research and development stage,” said Coggins. “Their proactive approach will pay off with the inherent advantages of being first-to-market.”
Food and beverage processing is Canada’s second largest manufacturing industry, accounting for $92.7 billion in sales in 2011 (source: Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada). In light of consumer demand for healthier food and beverage products, as well as the rising cost of sugar, industry analysts project stevia as a major emerging trend in food production. The World Health Organization estimates that stevia could eventually comprise 20 to 30 percent of all dietary sweeteners.