US – PureCircle stevia company plans to engage in massive StarLeaf stevia planting in 2018 to increase its ability to produce enough stevia sweeteners used in the global beverage and food industries.

The company plans to plant 16,000 tonnes of stevia from StarLeaf variety in 2018 with a possible 200% increase in the coming years.

StarLeaf is preferred to conventional stevia varieties because it is a non-GMO plant that yields 20 times more of the newest and best tasting stevia leaf sweeteners.

PureCircle works to turn the StarLeaf stevia into great tasting and high quality stevia ingredients, including sweeteners and flavor modifiers through an advanced network of experts, tools and insights.

The stevia sweeteners can be used to make sugar-reduced and sugar-free products, at the same time not compromising on taste for the broad beverage and food categories.

The company said that plans to increase planting will enable them use 80% StarLeaf of the stevia plants it will use this year and this is likely to increase to 90% in the next year.

This expansion plan would enhance production of best-tasting, sugar like and zero calorie stevia sweeteners to meet the increasing demand in the food and business industry.

“We are excited about our StarLeaf stevia expansion program.

It is a testament to our world-class agronomy program and is enabling PureCircle to deliver the best-tasting stevia varieties on a global scale.

Products from this leaf are revolutionizing the way our customers work with and adopt stevia.

We look forward to providing food and beverage companies access to the most sugar-like content from the leaf, at a scale which has never before been possible,” said James Foxton, Vice President of Agriculture Operations at PureCircle.

PureCircle has established strong stevia sources in various countries including partnerships in North Carolina, adding to its global agricultural network for stevia.

In North Carolina, stevia farming is seen as a mouth-watering venture as most farmers are utilizing their large acreages initially occupied by tobacco to grow stevia, a highly sought-after ingredient.

With over 40 stevia-related patents, PureCircle is likely to face stiff competition with other manufacturers who are increasingly exploring alternative sweeteners for applications in the food and beverage industry.

Leading players in the North American stevia market are Cargill, PureCirle and GLG Life Tech, who have embarked on creating awareness on healthier diets through the supply of natural ingredients.