Stevia production has potential to accelerate sustainability

Fermentation and bioconversion technologies have significantly improved the sustainability of Reb M, the results from  a comprehensive environmental life cycle assessment of stevia show.

For example, fermented Sugarcane Reb M production reduces negative climate change impact by 82% compared to sugar, while bioconversion shows a 50% reduction.

Ingredion conducted the global study to better understand the sustainability of stevia across its product life cycle compared to full-caloric options including cane sugar, beet sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It also sought to identify opportunities to improve the environmental performance of PureCircle by Ingredion’s stevia portfolio.

“Stevia production methods consistently outperform sugar across four key sustainability metrics due to recent innovations in Reb M stevia production,” said Kurt Callaghan, global strategic director for sugar reduction at Ingredion. “Reb M has enabled mass market adoption of stevia by delivering great tasting food and beverage products. Our bioconversion and fermentation capabilities will allow the industry to achieve the same great taste at an even more affordable price while dramatically improving the environmental impacts.”

New production methods have scaled Reb M, making it more readily available to food and beverage companies of all sizes.

Ingredion said such innovations allow brands to capitalise on the latest consumer-driven nutrition, health and wellness trends, offering sugar reduction options which support wellness and sustainable lifestyle choices.

The life cycle assessment is a methodology used to quantify potential environmental impacts associated with the life cycle of a product or service, from cradle to grave.

The proprietary study measured the environmental impacts of sweeteners derived from stevia leaves from their extraction and processing to their distribution to consumers, using environmental indicators which includes climate change, land use, water scarcity and cumulative energy demand.

PureCircle by Ingredion’s life cycle assessment is currently taking the extra step and undergoing peer review to achieve compliance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an independent organisation and standardisation process.

Such validation will enable Ingredion to deliver unique tools (eg sustainability calculators) to help manufacturers understand the environmental impacts of their sweeteners, according to the company.

Further insights from the life cycle assessment, as well as additional research on stevia, can be found on the Ingredion website.

Related content

Leave a reply

Food and Drink Technology