PureCircle, the world’s leading producer of high-purity stevia ingredients for the global food and beverage industry, announced plans today to invest in India’s stevia infrastructure over the next five years.
The company plans to partner with thousands of Indian farmers to plant 5,000 hectares of stevia and eventually build a stevia processing facility in India.
“Our investment in India signals the huge potential we see in this market for stevia as a sweetener and as an agricultural commodity,” said Jason Hecker, PureCircle’s President of Group Sales and Marketing. “We believe this plant can not only help farmers in the region earn extra income, but also help to naturally reduce calories for Indian consumers while maintaining the sweet tastes they want.”
India is the last major market to approve stevia leaf extract as a sweetener, opening the doors for PureCircle investment. This highlights PureCircle’s ongoing commitment to the PureCircle Stevia Agronomy Program and to working directly with farmers.
The agronomy program provides farmers with a contract that states a fixed priced for the stevia they produce and teaches them how to grow the plant sustainably. Indian farmers that grow PureCircle stevia on one hectare of land can expect to yield an income of about 400,000 Rupees per year. Early agricultural trials are already underway in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
“Stevia, also called Meethi Tulsi and Meethi Patti by Indian farmers, is the perfect ingredient for India due to its natural and herbal origins,” said Ajay Chandran, Senior Director for South Asia Region. “Across the globe, PureCircle’s portfolio of innovative stevia sweeteners and flavors has enabled major brands to reformulate full sugar products with this natural, zero-calorie solution to address consumer demands. We feel confident that stevia’s approval in India will lead to new, lower calorie taste innovation for this market and help consumers significantly reduce their sweet calorie intake.”
PureCircle will be hosting a customer event in Gurgaon tomorrow to further showcase their plans for the market.
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