Stevia is the world’s first natural sugar substitute and – with full EU approval of this no-calorie sweetener expected as early as November – it is set to have a “massive impact” on a UK market which is worth around £82 million* but has been declining by 8% per annum and is in need of innovation.
Stevia Rebaudiana is a wild shrub found widely in South America and Asia. Sweeteners extracted from the plant’s leaves have many healthy properties, including being free of calories, fat, cholesterol and gluten. Studies have also indicated that Stevia may help to lower blood pressure and regulate glucose levels.
Stevia is already widely used around the world and consumed by millions of people on a daily basis. In Japan, for example, Stevia has been used to naturally sweeten products such as soft drinks since the 1970s and accounts for more than 40% of the market. In the US, the natural sweeteners category is now worth $67 million, accounts for around 20% of the market and is growing by 70% per annum. In Brazil, Stevia is widely used for the treatment of diabetes.
Established for more than 20 years and with SQF level 3 manufacturing facilities in the US, the Netherlands and the UK, Heartland sells its products in 26 countries and supplies sweeteners for 85% of US retailers. Heartland Sweeteners Europe is based in Amsterdam and currently provides sweeteners to seven European markets.
“There is no doubt that Stevia, as the world’s first natural sugar substitute, represents a huge leap forward and that it will completely revolutionise the UK sweeteners market,” said Tom Morgan, Heartland’s Vice President for international markets. “Heartland is committed to leading the way in advancements in health and well-being and our experience, expertise and proud record of innovation means that we are perfectly placed to meet all requirements of UK retailers in terms of both branded and private-label products.”
Heartland’s Nevella® Stevia range will be launch into the UK market as soon as EU approval of Stevia is announced, which could be as early as November of this year. The Nevella® Stevia range will feature 100-count tablets, 40-count sachets and 75g jars and will therefore meet all retailer and consumer demand. Stevia is also a perfect choice for cooking or baking as it delivers a premium taste, natural sweetness and measures cup-for-cup like sugar.
The new Nevella® Stevia products will perfectly complement the established Nevella® with Probiotic sweeteners which contain beneficial bacteria that may help promote digestive tract health and are already successfully sold in leading supermarkets such as Sainsbury and Waitrose. Heartland was the first manufacturer to offer probiotics in a non-calorie sweetener, with a single tablet delivering more live cultures than one pot of yoghurt.
* source Food for Thought Market Research, Sept 2010
Steve Foster, UK Sales Director