Partnerships Create New Economic Opportunities for Tobacco Farmers In North Carolina to Grow Sustainable, Highly-Sought After Crop Supplying Stevia Sweeteners to Food and Beverage Companies
HICAGO, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- PureCircle (LSE: PURE), the world's leading producer and innovator of great-tasting stevia sweeteners for the global beverage and food industries, announces a new stevia farming program in the United States. The program will provide economic opportunities for tobacco farmers looking for a sustainable crop which is in high demand by the global food and beverage industry.
This past fall, PureCircle partnered with North Carolina farmers to successfully plant and harvest StarLeaf™ stevia in small trial plots. PureCircle and its partner-farmers will significantly increase commercial production of StarLeaf™ stevia for the next planting season.
PureCircle's StarLeaf™ is a variety of the stevia plant that contains rich amounts of the most sugar-like tasting, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners. The project in North Carolina is part of PureCircle's global program to scale up StarLeaf™ production, while also providing domestically grown stevia to the North American market.
The trials this fall confirmed stevia grows well in soil and climate conditions that were conducive to growing tobacco. With the declining demand for tobacco, stevia cultivation offers farmers in North Carolina the opportunity to increase returns and productivity of their acreage.
Stevia is becoming the preferred zero-calorie sweetener among consumers and consumer product companies. The percentage of beverage and food products launched containing stevia increased by 13% in Q2 2017 compared to Q2 2016. StarLeaf™ stevia will help companies accelerate launches of reduced and zero-calorie products by making available sweeteners with the most sugar-like taste derived from a plant-based source.
James Foxton, Vice President of Agricultural Operations at PureCircle, said:
"We are proud to introduce stevia as a crop in North Carolina. This program will boost the economic prospects of agriculture in that state by providing a viable alternative to tobacco. We look forward to working together with farmers in expanding stevia production and establishing a North American stevia supply chain for PureCircle.
PureCircle is the only company that combines advanced R&D with full vertical integration from farm to high-quality, great-tasting innovative stevia sweeteners.
The Company collaborates with farmers who grow the stevia plants and with food and beverage companies which seek to improve their low- and no-calorie formulations using a sweetener from plants.
PureCircle will continue to: lead in research, development and innovation; produce a growing supply of multiple varieties of stevia sweeteners with sugar-like taste, using all necessary and appropriate methods of production; and be a resource and innovation partner for food and beverage companies.
PureCircle stevia flavor modifiers work in synergy with sweeteners to improve the taste, mouthfeel and calorie profile, and enhance the cost effectiveness, of beverage and food products.
For more information, visit: www.purecircle.com