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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
The company developed its Reb M in partnership with The Coca-Cola Co., who will co-own the patent.
Stevia supplier PureCircle (Oak Brook, IL) announced this week that it would be granted a U.S. patent for the company’s rebaudioside M (Reb M) steviol glycoside ingredient for beverage applications. The company developed the Reb M ingredient in partnership with The Coca-Cola Co., which will co-own the patent. The companies say the ingredient tastes closer to table sugar than previously offered stevia ingredients, sidestepping issues with bitter notes associated with some other glycosides from the stevia leaf.
PureCircle extracts its Reb M from the stevia leaf. In late 2013, the company received a U.S. FDA “No Objections” Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) letter for the Reb M ingredient's use as a general-purpose sweetener for foods and beverages in the United States.
Faith Son, vice president, global marketing and innovation, PureCircle, says the company is already in commercial production with Reb M. “Since 2013 when we received FDA GRAS notification for Reb M, we have made major investments in stevia leaf supply and supply chain assets to support the commercialization of this ingredient as a mass-scale natural sweetener. We are offering the market natural ingredients from non-GMO stevia leaf and are naturally scaling these ingredients, including Reb M.”
In a press release, PureCircle CEO Magomet Malsagov called the Reb M ingredient “the next mainstream sweetener in food and beverage products globally.”
Commitment to Leaf Extraction for Now
Son says that PureCircle will continue focusing on natural leaf extraction for its portfolio. “Alternative methods of manufacturing steviol glycosides through fermentation/biotransformation or chemical synthesis are not new to us, and should there be a consumer market development, PureCircle is fully capable and prepared to service it,” she says. “However, given the plethora of artificial sweeteners already available on the market today, our main focus and commitment continues to be stevia leaf extracts that originate from the leaf of the stevia plant versus any methods that replicate the glycosides found in the leaf through synthetic methods.”
The company’s current projects include multimillion-dollar investments to scale up its leaf supply. In addition, the company launched PureCircle Matrix Solutions, “a new family of stevia leaf extract ingredients that have been optimized for specific category applications and perform more similarly to sugar, enabling deeper calorie reductions,” Son says.
The PureCircle Matrix Solutions line includes Sigma-Tea, targeting tea products, “with reduced astringency and bitterness and a sweet aftertaste that performs at parity to sugar at mid-level sugar reductions in tea products.” Also part of the line is Sigma-D, poised at the dairy market with a clean sweetness profile. The company also launched its Delta ingredient containing Reb D.
Nutritional Outlook magazine