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.
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.”