PureCircle to increase Starleaf stevia acreage following first commercial-scale harvest in US

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unlike other parts of the Carolinas, the company's Starleaf crop was not damaged by Hurricane Florence. Photo: PureCircle
Unlike other parts of the Carolinas, the company's Starleaf crop was not damaged by Hurricane Florence. Photo: PureCircle

Related tags: Stevia, Purecircle

Global stevia supplier PureCircle will soon harvest the first commercial-scale crop of its proprietary Starleaf stevia after completing successful trial plots in 2017 with plans to significantly increase acreage of the proprietary sweetener over the next two to three years, the company said.

Starleaf is the company’s zero-calorie stevia sweetener with 20 times the amount of more sugar-like steviol glycoside content compared to standard stevia leaf varieties because of its inclusion of Reb M and Reb D, according to Pure Circle.

The availability of a commercial supply of Starleaf will allow the company to supply significantly more Reb M for the food and beverage industry through two different production methods.

Pure Circle produces Reb M both directly from Starleaf stevia plants, like the ones being grown in North Carolina, and from other stevia sweeteners in the plants. In the latter case, PureCircle starts with purified stevia leaf extract with low Reb M content and by adding an enzyme, the maturation to Reb M is completed just as the leaf does itself.

“This gives food and beverage companies further confidence to launch global brands with PureCircle’s best-tasting stevia leaf sweeteners like Reb M,”​ PureCircle said.

Pure Circle chief supply chain officer, Gary Juncosa (left) and North Carolina stevia farmer, John Fleming (right). 

Expanding Starleaf acreage

The work in North Carolina has yielded advances for the company’s stevia agronomy program, including how to adapt growing stevia plants to different regions of the world.

PureCircle has three “strong”​ partnerships with stevia growers in North Carolina and expects that in the next two to three years the company will have five to ten times more farmers in its network, according to Pure Circle chief supply chain officer, Gary Juncosa.

“Our partnerships in North Carolina will significantly increase our supply of Starleaf stevia plants grown in North America and thereby geographically diversify our stevia plant supply,”​ PureCircle CEO Maga Malsagov said.

“We plan to increase the North Carolina program next year and again in future years.”

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