Stevia’s growth comes from the wide range of products that stevia can positively influence. The opportunity is to shift the way food and beverage manufacturers are looking at developing zero and low-calorie products for consumers. Stevia can be blended with sugar to lower calorie content in food and beverages, or it can replace artificial sweeteners.
While research shows that consumers look for natural, low-calorie products, it also shows that they’re not familiar with stevia’s benefits. Once educated about the product, their interest in purchasing products containing stevia rises. PureCircle shared research from WonderGroup that showed there is “a need for continued education and information concerning stevia.” The research concluded that mothers, upon learning about stevia, find it appealing for their entire family. The appeal grows with moms who are especially concerned about the use of sugar.
At last week’s conference, GLG Life Tech initiated the discussion for the stevia industry to organize its own international trade association—similar to other successful crop trade associations—focused on consumer-based messaging. This stevia trade association would need a strong global and local focus on key governmental and social influencers to adopt stevia as a solution to the large social, economic, political, environmental and technological change.
The stevia industry must embrace competitive cooperation among its members. As a world leader in the production of stevia, GLG Life Tech is positioned to lead the stevia industry toward forming a substantive trade association. GLG believes that a trade association advocating on behalf of the industry can only serve to benefit growers and manufacturers, large and small, domestically and globally.
In addition, the industry must ensure the delivery of high quality and pure stevia extracts that consistently offer a positive flavor profile. The extraction process ought to seek to maximize and achieve the best taste profiles to meet the requirements of the consumer palate. The industry also must continue to seek innovative stevia-based sweetening systems.
Noted American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once said: “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Now is the time for the stevia industry to lay the foundation for a very successful and profitable long-term future. This foundation will push the stevia industry through the crossroads to explode into the mainstream. At the same time, the industry must speak with one voice to achieve success for all representatives of stevia. Achieving these goals will allow stevia to create a new category of sweetener for use in a wide range of food and beverage products, providing a natural solution for the obesity and health related issues humans are facing on a global scale.