Coca-Cola exploring new sweetener for beverages


, BevNET Staff Writer

Coca-Cola is
exploring beverage applications for Truvia – the natural, zero-calorie sweetener
the company co-developed with Cargill – but a representative from the company
declined to say when those products might launch.

competitive reasons we cannot discuss the timing,” said Dr. Rhona Applebaum,
vice president and chief scientific and regulatory officer for The Coca-Cola

Zanna McFerson, business director for Cargill Sweetness
Solutions, also dodged the question of whether Coca-Cola would have exclusive
access to the sweetener in the beverage world.

“This collaboration is about combining the core competencies
of both companies to bring this product to market,” McFerson said. She added
that Cargill would bring the sweetener to the food market while Coca-Cola would
bring it to the beverage market.

McFerson and Applebaum spoke Thursday during a
teleconference announcing completed research on the product. The sweetener is
200 times sweeter than sugar and derived from the stevia plant by way of drying
the leaves then steeping them in water.

Stevia sweeteners are already widely used around the world,
but previous attempts to bring the product to the U.S. food market have been
blocked by the Food and Drug Administration, most recently in 2004 – though
stevia products are available as “dietary supplements.”

Leslie Curry, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director for
Cargill Food and Ingredient Systems, said Truvia, which has not yet been
approved by the FDA, differs from previous U.S. attempts at stevia sweeteners
because it is purer, more consistent and better researched.

For more information on Truvia, click here.