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.
You have probably heard of ‘steviol glycosides’ and ‘stevia’ and wonder what the difference is. Steviol glycosides is the extract from the stevia plant (stevia rebaudiana) and it is what gives the leaves their sweet taste. Similar to how sucrose is the extract from the sugar plant. Here’s how we at The Real Stevia Company produce our Real Stevia™ product.
As we’re celebrating the international women’s day today we thought we’d highlight our values in relation to gender equality. As a company with a Scandinavian background we’ve always treated it as a cornerstone in our business, and we’ve made it a point to make sure this continues to our operations and offices worldwide. At our offices in Paraguay, Granular PY, we work with a large number of women. Over 80% of our employees are women there and in Stockholm we’re at a roughly equal 50%. Including our operations in China, all three are led by women.