In November 2019, Avansya, the joint venture between Cargill and Royal DSM, started commercial-scale production at the first fermentation facility for stevia sweeteners in the United States. The facility is involved in the production of EverSweet™, which is a plant-based, zero-calorie stevia sweetener. This first commercial-scale fermentation facility, worth USD 50 million, is located in Blair, Nebraska, to sustainably produce the zero-calorie sweetener and is operated by Cargill.
The global stevia market is being driven by the growing health concern among consumers and rising awareness regarding the ill effects of high sugar consumption, thus, resulting in the increased demand for low-calorie products. Stevia, being a natural sweetener with zero-calorie, serves as a great alternative to sugar. The global stevia market attained a production value of nearly USD 520.32 million in 2019. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.4% in the forecast period of 2020-2025 to reach a production value of almost USD 844.20 million by 2025. The trend towards health and wellness has led to a growth in the demand for natural sweeteners over artificial sweeteners, particularly for the natural sweeteners derived from the stevia plant.
The molecules like Reb M and Reb D, which are highly sought-after and sweet-tasting and are used in the preparation of EverSweet, are produced in this new facility, further offering the food and beverage manufacturers an even more scalable and sustainable option due to its low cost-in-use solution. With the rising consumer demand for healthier products coupled with government schemes like levies on sugar and sugary products, the food, and beverage manufacturers are increasingly seeking low-calorie sugar alternatives, and, thus, this facility is expected to help them to achieve this goal. This development reaffirms the company’s commitment to strengthen the business community and transform Nebraska into a “biotechnology mecca.”
EverSweet’s clean profile, with no compromise on taste, is well-suited for manufacturing products such as yoghurt, chocolate milk, ice cream, soft drinks, cereal, bars, and confections. Avansya, with the available commercial volumes, has already started supplying EverSweet to various customers. In the coming months, more consumer products are set to launch across multiple market segments. Currently, more than 300 customer trials and product development projects are in progress.
EverSweet is GRAS, and FEMA GRAS approved for use in food and beverage products in the U.S. and Mexico, and additional regulatory approvals for use in other countries are underway. The stevia sweetener fermentation facility at the Blair Campus is built on the area of around 10,000 square-foot, featuring 6 miles of new piping and 2,000 new instruments, in addition to the fermenters and evaporators that were installed.
The rising global demand for advanced sugar reduction has never been clearer or more urgent. With this opening, Avansya has successfully moved forward in its effort to provide consumers around the world reduced- and zero-calorie food and beverage products, further helping the overall industry to innovate, with no compromise on taste, and supporting good health and well-being in our societies.
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