ITALY – International food standards body Codex Alimentarius has adopted the specifications for four different technologies for the production of steviol glycosides.

The four production technologies approved by Codex are stevia leaf extract, steviol glycosides from bioconversion, steviol glycosides from fermentation and glucosylated steviol glycosides.

The International Stevia Council (ISC) has welcomed the move will boost access to sugar-reducing solutions and benefit the stevia sector.

Most countries are expected to adopt the standard, allowing Stevia producers like Sweegen to expand more rapidly into countries where approval has not yet been granted.

Sweegen, whose bioconversion technology was among those approved, noted that the move by Codex will provide greater access to less common and better-tasting steviol glycosides at scale and a more sustainable supply of the sugar-like tasting ingredients.

The company already produces clean new generation sweetener molecules, such as Rebaudiosides M, D and E, from stevia using bioconversion.

Unlike first-generation ingredients like Rebaudioside A, these rebaudiosides impart a clean sugar-like taste with a better sensory profile and are highly sought-after by food and beverage manufacturers in countries where they have regulatory approvals.

Stevia use gains traction 

As its next generations gain regulatory approval, stevia continues to gain traction within the sweetening space, featuring prominently in sports drinks and health-positioned treats.

 According to Innova Market Insights, new global product launches with stevia are averaging an annual growth of 15% every year (from 2016 to 2021).

Data from Innova shows that global product launches with stevia have increased by 21.9% CAGR over the past 10 years (2011 to 2021). 

However, data analysis from the market researcher highlights that over 35% of consumers globally are still not aware of stevia and need to be educated about this ingredient and its varieties.

Bloomer to produce reduced-sugar chocolate 

Meanwhile, Blommer Chocolate Company is set to start offering reduced-sugar chocolates in the US market beginning with a chocolate-flavored chip with 50% less sugar.

“The chips are our first product due to their versatility, allowing for many different applications in healthy snacks and bakery segments,” says Colleen Ness, vice president of sales and marketing at Blommer Chocolate Company. 

Two different chocolate-flavored chips are now available – the Armstrong Gold Reduced Sugar Dark Chocolate Flavored Drops and the Jemison Gold Reduced Sugar Dark Confectionery Drops. 

In addition to less sugar, the chips contain fewer calories, more fiber and are non-GMO.

The new innovations have been possible using technology from DouxMatok which allows for up to 50% sugar reduction and enhances the perception of sweetness with substantially less sugar and no compromise on taste, texture or sweetness. 

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