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Global stevia producer PureCircle to invest in India

Company plans to partner with Indian farmers to cultivate stevia, considered a natural substitute for sugar, on 5,000 hectares and build a processing facility here.

PureCircle, PureCircle company, Stevia producer, Global stevia producer, PureCircle to invest in India, PureCircle india, stevia ingredients, food and beverages indiatry, India news, business news PureCircle also plans to help Indian food and beverage companies to formulate products using stevia as a sweetener.

PureCircle, producer of stevia ingredients for global food and beverage industry, plans to invest $200 million in India’s stevia infrastructure over the next five years. The company will partner with Indian farmers to cultivate stevia on 5,000 hectares and build a processing facility here.

Stevia, a naturally sourced “zero-calorie” sweetening agent, is a plant extract used as a “natural sugar substitute” around the world. According to experts consulted and research done by the company, stevia is 350 times sweeter than sugar but is not like sugar, because it has no calorie, and not an “artificial” sweetener either because it is natural.

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“Our investment in India signals the huge potential we see in this market for stevia as a sweetener and as an agricultural commodity,” says Jason Hecker, who heads PureCircle’s group sales and marketing department.

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PureCircle also plans to help Indian food and beverage companies to formulate products using stevia as a sweetener.

 

PureCircle, PureCircle company, Stevia producer, Global stevia producer, PureCircle to invest in India, PureCircle india, stevia ingredients, food and beverages indiatry, India news, business news Stevia, a naturally sourced “zero-calorie” sweetening agent, is a plant extract used as a “natural sugar substitute” around the world.

While stevia was first used in Paraguay around 200 years ago, it was made for commercial use in Japan for the first time in the year 1971. In 1984, China began cultivating stevia plants and, after an initial ban, the Food and Drug Authority of the US granted high-purity stevia leaf extract the status of GRAS, or Generally Recognised as Safe.

India recently approved stevia leaf extract as a sweetener, which facilitated PureCircle’s entry to the country. The company says its PureCircle Stevia Agronomy Program works directly with farmers.

“The agronomy program provides farmers with a contract that states a fixed price for the stevia they produce and teaches them how to grow the plant sustainably. Indian farmers that grow PureCircle stevia on 1 hectare of land can expect an income of about Rs 4 lakh per annum from the yield,” says the company.

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Early agricultural trials for stevia, also called Meethi Tulsi and Meethi Patti by Indian farmers, are already under way in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

Ajay Chandran, the company’s senior director for South Asia region, says, “Across the globe, PureCircle’s portfolio of innovative stevia sweeteners and flavors has enabled major brands to reformulate full sugar products with this natural, zero-calorie solution to address consumer demands. We feel confident that stevia’s approval in India will lead to new, lower calorie taste innovation for this market and help consumers significantly reduce their sweet calorie intake.”

First published on: 12-04-2016 at 07:19:58 pm
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