Arguably the best-known natural sweetener, stevia is a low-caloric sweetener that is approximately 200-350 times sweeter than sugar. It has long been associated with helping develop functional foods and beverages but is now seeing use far beyond these categories as a low-calorie option to sweeten reduced calorie soft drinks, teas, and more.
A natural sweetener and sugar substitute, it is extracted from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. The active compounds are steviol glycosides (mainly stevioside and rebaudioside). The extracts are heat stable, pH stable, and non-fermentable.
Improved palatability has made it more popular among manufacturers, and it was included in 28 percent of 2018 new product launches in the US with sugar-related claims. With increasing acceptance, it enjoyed a compound annual growth rate of 20% from 2016 to 2018, second only to sucralose.
Although some earlier prototypes had an unappealing and bitter aftertaste, stevia has since evolved to have a much better taste profile than what was initially offered. Get in touch for more information!