The sudden popularity of stevia has done more than reduce the caloric load of sweetened products. It has, according to Green Wave Ingredients (GWI; La Mirada, CA), created significant price fluctuation for stevia raw materials and extracts. GWI sat down with Nutritional Outlook at this month’s Ingredients Marketplace trade show in New York to talk a little bit about why the company’s average monthly settle price for stevia has ranged from as low as about $30/kilo of stevia to over $40/kilo. It’s a topic that is likely influencing stevia users industry-wide.
“The front end of the story is that stevia has increased in demand globally,” said GWI marketing coordinator Sonja O’Reilly. “The back end of the story? What many customers don’t know is that the cultivation has decreased, because the manufacturers in China haven’t made any profit on this ingredient over the past few years. They’ve gotten rid of their reserves. They had huge stock levels-which have now decreased due to the demand-so what’s happening with stevia is that, even though the demand is increasing at a fast rate, production is not yet picking up.”
Many small-size companies opt to work with stevia distributors and not producers, so the information on whether stevia’s price is increasing or decreasing may get lost. For all of the potential insecurity, GWI encourages companies to consider purchasing blanket orders, which lock in bulk orders at fixed prices before stevia has a chance to spike in price. The company’s blanket orders are even available for durations of just three months, which can give manufacturers short-term security while still letting them price shop.
“There is a risk for the U.S. customer that prices may go up,” said O’Reilly. “We guarantee them a price that is at a very good level-potentially lower than what the price may rise to over the next months or quarters.
Visit Green Wave Ingredients online to learn more about the California-based stevia distributor.
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Nutritional Outlook magazine