PureCircle Ltd. announced the latest move in its mission to encourage healthier diets around the world with the opening of PureCircle Mexico. Through its new location in Mexico City, PureCircle, the global leader in high-purity stevia ingredients, will support the expanding needs of the Latin American food and beverage industry to reduce sugar and calories in their products. According to the USDA, Latin America uses more than 28 million metric tons of sugar annually, which translates to over 100 billion calories. “This puts us closer to our customers, so we’re in a better position to provide faster product development support to them,” explains Mauricio Bacigaluppo, vice president sales Latin America. “Customer service, sales, technical and application specialists are all now located in the region.”
As in much of the rest of the world, expanding waistlines in Latin America are fueling a drive to reduce calories in food and beverages. “There is a very hard push to reduce caloric content in food and beverages in the region,” says Bacigaluppo, “and now we’re well positioned to help our customers achieve this objective with a natural-origin, zero-calorie sweetener—stevia.”
Although stevia has a long history of use in Latin America, the use of high-purity stevia ingredients in foods and beverages here only started to develop after Reb A achieved GRAS status in the U.S. and was subsequently added to the Codex Alimentarius international food standards in 2009. Today many multinational food and beverage companies have successfully launched stevia-sweetened versions of some of their top brands. According to the market research firm Mintel, more than 100 stevia-sweetened product launches have occurred in Latin America in the past year, along with double-digit growth over the past five years. “Consumers have been receptive to these lower-calorie products sweetened with stevia,” says Bacigaluppo. “And they’re not just ‘lite’ or ‘diet’ products. Mainstream, conventional products are launching with stevia. As a result, the market is very dynamic and growing.” To date stevia sweetened launches in the region include, carbonated soft drinks, powdered beverage mixes, flavored milks, yogurt, table top sweeteners, and more.
Next generation stevia
PureCircle’s Stevia 3.0™ is a customized approach to sweetening solutions that exemplifies an evolution from a single ingredient solution to a tailored solution. Using a portfolio of stevia-derived flavors and sweeteners, Stevia 3.0 lets PureCircle help customers achieve deeper caloric reductions while maintaining great taste. In order to share its Stevia 3.0 knowledge with customers, the company created a hands-on learning program it calls PureCircle University (PCU). The ‘everything stevia’ program covers a comprehensive curriculum of expert stevia know-how from technical application techniques to the communication benefits of a plant-derived sweetener. “To date more than 70 PCU seminars have been conducted with customers around the world, bringing the entire breadth of our expertise from concept development to formulation, helping accelerate their launch development,” explains Bacigaluppo. “At our new laboratory in Mexico D.F., we’ll be inviting customers to participate in PCU seminars, so they can benefit from our technical and applications knowledge of stevia sweetening solutions within their own food and beverage matrices.”