The letters came in response to two dossiers submitted in May by major food companies. Whole Earth Sweetener Company—a subsidiary of Merisant Company— submitted a notification and supporting scientific data to FDA demonstrating that Reb A is GRAS for use in beverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners. Whole Earth has partnered with PepsiCo and Malaysia-based PureCircle to develop and distribute its product, PureVia, marketed as an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener.
Cargill and Coca-Cola, which partnered to develop its own Reb A-based TRUVIA, also submitted scientific evidence from an expert panel, which deemed the ingredient to be GRAS. FDA’s response indicates it has no objection to conclusions in either dossier.
As a result, PureVia is expected to hit store shelves this month as a tabletop sweetener, available at grocery and mass merchandise stores across the U.S. It will be offered in 40- and 80-stick cartons for a suggested retail price of $3.99 and $6.99, respectively.
“We are delighted to bring PureVia to consumers,” said Paul Block, CEO of Merisant and Whole Earth Sweetener Company. “PureVia is the result of innovative technology that isolates 97% pure Reb A, the sweetest and best tasting part of the stevia leaf. We blend Reb A with other natural flavors and ingredients to create a great tasting, all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener with a similar taste and texture to sugar.”
PepsiCo will also launch two new products containing PureVia: zero-calorie SoBe Lifewater and Trop 50, Tropicana’s new light orange juice. SoBe Lifewater will be available in Black and Blue Berry, Fuji Apple Pear and Yumberry Pomegranate flavors.
Tropicana will introduce Trop 50, a light orange juice product with 50% less sugar and calories using PureVia in March.
“For consumers who are demanding more natural foods and beverages and counting calories but don’t want to compromise on taste, PureVia hits the sweet spot,” said Massimo d’Amore, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. “The new flavors of SoBe Lifewater and Trop 50 will continue the transformation of our product portfolio into a wider variety of healthy products, and we also believe they can help revitalize interest in our North American beverage business.”
Coca-Cola North America (CCNA) will also launch Sprite Green, the first of what is anticipated to be many more beverages sweetened with TRUVIA. Sprite Green contains 50 calories per 8.5-oz. serving. It was created to appeal to active young adults and will be launched in two U.S. cities this month in distinctive 8.5-oz. aluminum bottles, according to the company. Initial availability will be limited to teen and young adult-oriented locations and events with a broader rollout planned for early 2009.
“The Sprite brand has a rich history of setting trends and breaking new ground in sparkling beverages, and we think consumers will be excited to try Sprite Green,” said Santiago Blanco, vice president, Sprite and Flavors, Coca-Cola North America. “Sprite Green with TRUVIA natural sweetener is a significant step for CCNA in our ongoing efforts to apply the latest breakthrough innovations to our expanding array of beverages.”