Saturday, December 15, 2007

Is Coca-Cola Putting Stevia On The Fast-Track?

http://www.commonvoice.com/article.asp?colid=7221

Is Coca-Cola Putting Stevia On The Fast-Track To Approval As A Sweetener?
Jimmy Moore
June 2, 2007

The following is a reprint from the blog "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":

Did you know Diet Coke in Japan is sweetened with the plant-based stevia?

About a year ago I blogged about the controversial all-natural sugar alternative called stevia. At the time, I lamented that stevia was not approved by the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) to even be called a sweetener...yet! But that may be about to change if a joint venture with The Coca-Cola Company and a major food additive business has anything to say about it (and you KNOW they will because money talks!).

This USA Today story notes that Coke as well as Cargill Foods have decided to take a serious look at a sweetener they want to call rebiana (a shortened word used for Stevia Rebaudiana). Remember that name they have come up with because it's the term these companies are going to be using for stevia soon and it's been three years in the making.

For people who are livin' la vida low-carb and choose to avoid the use of the chemical-based sweeteners that dominate the marketplace, such as saccharin (Sweet 'N Low), aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal), and sucralose (Splenda), many of us have been using stevia instead because it contains ZERO calories and carbohydrates. That's certainly impressive nutritional info for a natural alternative to sugar.

But it's gonna be a bit of an uphill battle to get stevia approved since the FDA has come down so strongly AGAINST approving it while this list of sugar alternatives get a free pass--all of which are made from chemicals. But there are still a lot of people who have concerns over the safety of these products (and I get e-mails from people ALL THE TIME about my support for Splenda--get over it already people. That stuff helped me overcome morbid obesity, so leave it be!).

As a result, that's the allure of having commercial acceptance of stevia in a popular product like Diet Coke. With crazy new product concepts like the vitamin-infused Diet Coke Plus (made with aspartame), the "calorie-burning" Enviga (also sweetened with aspartame and a touch of ACE-K), and their marketing darling of the moment Coke Zero (yep, you guessed it, sweetened with aspartame and ACE-K), this idea of making a Diet Coke with Stevia is the best thing they've come up with since my favorite sugar-free soda Diet Coke with Splenda was released to the market (although they've never given it the proper marketing IMHO!).

Interestingly, stevia IS already being used in Diet Coke--in Japan, where stevia boasts a robust 40% of the sweetener market, as well as in Brazil, China, and nine other industrialized countries. So what's taking America so long to get going with this in this country already? The FDA needs to get its head out of their backside and approve stevia as a sweetener.

Are they afraid of the competition it will give that disgusting NASTY-tame? If so, then GOOD! They should be because it's high time people have other alternatives. I'm tired of seeing Nutrasweet in EVERYTHING sugar-free/low-carb I would want to purchase. Put Splenda or stevia in some of these products already! There's a bunch of us who don't like aspartame at all!

Currently, the Coca-Cola Company has been seriously looking at this since 2004 and last week filed a total of 24 patents to begin removing the sweetest parts of stevia so they can come up with the perfect taste and blend of rebiana to be used in their future versions of Diet Coke.

It's not yet known if this new sweetener will eventually be phased in to replaced aspartame or if it will be mixed with ACE-K or other sweeteners in totally different products altogether. But clearly Coke is ready to put stevia on the fast-track to FDA approval.

As for Cargill Foods, they intend to use this stevia-based sweetener in foods like yogurt, cereal, ice cream, and other sugar-free sweet treats. This is expected to be a huge undertaking that could quite literally shake up the food and beverage industry unlike anything that has come along in the past few decades. This is long overdue in America and I can't wait to see it come.

A Cargill representative said this was a "significant investment," so don't expect them to take no for an answer from self-serving interest groups who will oppose the use of stevia in this manner to cover their bedonkadonks with the artificial sweetener companies. That's why Cargill has already begun the process of petitioning the FDA to use stevia as a food additive. It's gonna be difficult, but I'm confident they'll get approval. Stay tuned!

Although Coke is saying the stevia they have tested in several of their products has performed just as well as the aspartame and sucralose for sweetness, I'm not as convinced about it. Sure, stevia is an excellent product and I have used it myself in various forms, but the black licorice-like bitterness can be a real turn-off to some people. The blend will have to be perfect.

I'm sure if stevia finally does make it into a Diet Coke product in the next few years that they'll make it taste as sweet as possible by very likely using an ACE-K blend. It'll probably resemble the aspartame/ACE-K blends that dominate the Coca-Cola line of sugar-free products today. This will be a HUGE step in the right direction for the world's #1 beverage maker (although I wouldn't mind having more Splenda-sweetened options, too--HINT HINT!).

If rebiana becomes a household name thanks to Coke and Cargill Foods, then you can expect PepsiCo, Dannon, and other rivals in the sugar-free/low-carb market to develop their own versions of stevia-sweetened products--perhaps they'll be allowed to actually call it stevia. Actually, if they're smart, then they'll start working on this NOW!

I've long held that having an "all-natural" sweetener like stevia is already on the cutting edge and it's only a matter of time before it is as widely used in the United States just as it is in Japan today. It's not a matter of if, but when. I can't wait to try a Rebiana Coke with a green stevia leaf on the can as a logo to distinguish it from the other versions. This will be the most unique diet soda product to ever release!

Are you ready for a Diet Coke made with stevia?

2 comments:

Rich Murray said...

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNMmessage/1451
Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose) and coloring
agents will be banned from use in newly-born and baby foods,
the European Parliament decided: Latvia ban in schools 2006:
Murray 2007.07.12

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNMmessage/1437
stevia to be approved and cyclamates limited by
Food Standards Australia New Zealand:
JMC Geuns critiques of two recent stevia studies by Nunes:
Murray 2007.05.29

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1487
Sainsbury's supermarket chain in UK details its bans of aspartame, sodium benzoate, and artificial flavourings and colours: Carol Key, Customer Manager: Murray 2007.11.09

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1427
more from The Independent, UK, Martin Hickman, re ASDA
(unit of Wal-Mart Stores) and Marks & Spencer ban of
aspartame, MSG, artificial chemical additives and dyes
to prevent ADHD in kids: Murray 2007.05.16
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article2548747.ece

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1426
ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N) and Marks & Spencer
will join Tesco and also Sainsbury to ban and limit
aspartame, MSG, artificial flavors dyes preservatives additives,
trans fats, salt "nasties" to protect kids from ADHD:
leading UK media: Murray 2007.05.15

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1438
Coca-Cola and Cargill Inc., after years of development,
with 24 patents, will soon sell rebiana (stevia)
in drinks and foods: Murray 2007.05.31

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNMmessage/1488
Coca-Cola, Cargill Inc., PureCircle global operations market stevia for
foods and drinks: Murray 2007.11.12


"Of course, everyone chooses, as a natural priority, to enjoy peace, joy, and love by helping to find, quickly share, and positively act upon evidence about healthy and safe food, drink, and environment."

Rich Murray, MA Room For All rmforall@comcast.net
505-501-2298 1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

http://RMForAll.blogspot.com new primary archive

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/messages
group with 115 members, 1,496 posts in a public archive

details on 6 epidemiological studies since 2004 on diet soda (mainly aspartame) correlations, as well as 14 other mainstream studies on aspartame toxicity since summer 2005: Murray 2007.11.27
http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2007_11_01_archive.htm
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1490

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_controversy

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Aspartame

Rich Murray said...

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNMmessage/1451
Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose) and coloring
agents will be banned from use in newly-born and baby foods,
the European Parliament decided: Latvia ban in schools 2006:
Murray 2007.07.12

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNMmessage/1437
stevia to be approved and cyclamates limited by
Food Standards Australia New Zealand:
JMC Geuns critiques of two recent stevia studies by Nunes:
Murray 2007.05.29

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1487
Sainsbury's supermarket chain in UK details its bans of aspartame, sodium benzoate, and artificial flavourings and colours: Carol Key, Customer Manager: Murray 2007.11.09

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1427
more from The Independent, UK, Martin Hickman, re ASDA
(unit of Wal-Mart Stores) and Marks & Spencer ban of
aspartame, MSG, artificial chemical additives and dyes
to prevent ADHD in kids: Murray 2007.05.16
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article2548747.ece

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1426
ASDA (unit of Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N) and Marks & Spencer
will join Tesco and also Sainsbury to ban and limit
aspartame, MSG, artificial flavors dyes preservatives additives,
trans fats, salt "nasties" to protect kids from ADHD:
leading UK media: Murray 2007.05.15

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1438
Coca-Cola and Cargill Inc., after years of development,
with 24 patents, will soon sell rebiana (stevia)
in drinks and foods: Murray 2007.05.31

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNMmessage/1488
Coca-Cola, Cargill Inc., PureCircle global operations market stevia for
foods and drinks: Murray 2007.11.12


"Of course, everyone chooses, as a natural priority, to enjoy peace, joy, and love by helping to find, quickly share, and positively act upon evidence about healthy and safe food, drink, and environment."

Rich Murray, MA Room For All rmforall@comcast.net
505-501-2298 1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

http://RMForAll.blogspot.com new primary archive

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/messages
group with 115 members, 1,496 posts in a public archive

details on 6 epidemiological studies since 2004 on diet soda (mainly aspartame) correlations, as well as 14 other mainstream studies on aspartame toxicity since summer 2005: Murray 2007.11.27
http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2007_11_01_archive.htm
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aspartameNM/message/1490

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_controversy

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Aspartame