We know that most of you don’t have time to scan the news every day, so we put together a short list of the most interesting sweet news for you!
Stevia leaves are approved in the EU!
We hoped, we lost faith, but finally the sweet tasting stevia leaves have been recognised as safe and approved to market and sell also in the EU. You’ll find more details about the stevia regulations here at our blog soon, until then read the amazing news here.
It was finally time for us, Anna and Carl-Fredrik, to visit Paraguay for the first time. After a 24 hour long trip we arrived in Paraguay, where our stevia plantations and second office are located. Our first impression, besides the very moist heat, was that it wasn’t that different to Sweden, where our trip had started. Even though our countries obviously have major social and geographical differences, the people, values and ambitions are very similar. Everyone we met was very open and friendly and we communicated in a lively mix of Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Our Paraguayan multilingual colleagues helped us with translation into the native Guarani language when meeting with the farmers.
Sugar has increasingly become a health threat that can no longer be overlooked, causing alarming problems with diabetes, obesity and other endemic diseases. Many countries are adopting a sugar tax approach to cope with over consumption of sugar, and producers are looking to reduce the amount of sugar in our daily foods and drinks.
As you may have heard in the news, or in the blogosphere, there’s a lot of buzz around a sugar tax or sugar levy being passed into law all around the world. Let’s try and dispel some myths and give some background into why this is becoming a world-wide trend.
Tax on added sugars in soft drinks could affect a wide range of products
Five years ago, in December 2011, stevia extract or as the legislative body prefer to call it, steviol glycosides or E960 was approved for use in the EU and the first products hit the market shortly thereafter. With this 5 year anniversary to the approval that The Real Stevia Company was a central force in accomplishing, it’s worth looking back on stevia in Europe to see what has happened during this period.
Since December 2011 we have seen the number of stevia products on the European market steadily increase, with introductions taking on a sharp increase in recent years. Over 4000 stevia products have been launched with roughly 70% of them happening in the last three years.
Sweden traditionally celebrates May with a ‘May Flower’, here is the flower of a young stevia plant!
On Sunday May 1st we celebrate Labor Day and the International Worker’s Day in Sweden and around most parts of the world. Paraguay and China celebrates it as well and we’d like to give a special thanks to our farmers who are out in the fields tending and growing our stevia plants.
As we’re celebrating Earth Day today we thought we’d take a quick minute to discuss the importance of the quality of stevia plants to establish a good taste.
The stevia extract is a sweetener, just like sugar, however since it is so extremely sweet compared to sugar it needs to be correctly dosed to ensure a good taste. A very important quality of a sweetener, that is sometimes overlooked is the quality of taste. Besides just tasting sweet, a successful sweetener needs to have a rounded flavor profile. Much like how a good tasting wine or chocolate relies heavily on the quality of the berry and cocoa bean, so too is stevia reliant on high quality leaves. To ensure the highest quality of leaves we use fully sustainably sourced farming. Leaving a small climate footprint ensures regular stevia yields and gives our smallholder farmers a reliable income.
Today is WHOs World Health Day and the focus for this year is how to halt the rise of diabetes. WHO is calling for global action to halt rise of – and improve care for people with – diabetes. According to numbers from WHO, the number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. In 2014, more than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese. Some of the the factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity.
All sweeteners are metabolized differently in the human body. Often comparison of stevia, with artificial and other sweeteners, can be misleading as that difference is not made clear.
Let’s first look at how sugar is broken down in the body. When digesting sugar, the pancreas produces insulin to break it down which keeps blood sugar levels in check. In diabetics this is especially problematic due to a deficiency in the insulin production, an insufficient digestion of sugar which then leads to elevated blood sugar levels.
Recently there has been an increasing discussion on the use of sugar, stevia and artificial sweeteners. We think it is positive that this is raised in the media when then the negative health effects of a rising calorie intake are clear worldwide, with obesity and diabetes as a result. Today more than 415 million people are living with diabetes worldwide, the equivalent of 1 out of 11 adults. This figure is expected to rise to 641.7 million people in 2040.