CHICAGO, May 25 /PRNewswire/ — Stevia, the naturally zero-calorie sweetener, is gaining in popularity with consumers and food manufacturers alike. To help provide reliable, consistent information on stevia, PureCircle (LSE: PURE) today announced that it has created the Global Stevia Institute (www.globalsteviainstitute.com), which will launch in June 2010. The Institute will promote accurate, credible and consistent information and resources about stevia to health professionals, consumers and the food industry.
The Institute has enlisted Keith-Thomas Ayoob, Ed.D., RD, FADA as its executive director. Dr. Ayoob is a practicing pediatric nutrition specialist with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York where he directs the Nutrition Clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Ayoob will lead a team of scientific advisors from around the world to better educate the greater public about stevia, how it can fit into today's diet and the current science behind the plant-based sweetener.
"Dr. Ayoob is an ideal leader for the Global Stevia Institute," said Magomet Malsagov, CEO and Managing Director of PureCircle. "He is an internationally known educator on nutrition issues. We trust that he will empower the Global Stevia Institute to reach people across the globe with science-based stevia education and how it applies to today's consumers as they strive for better health and wellness."
Over the past few decades Americans have developed quite the sweet tooth — consuming on average 100 pounds of sweeteners per year(i). At birth we have over 10,000 taste buds and we start craving sweet foods in infancy. But an insatiable appetite for sweet is adding to our waistlines with more than 64% of U.S. adults either overweight or obese(ii).
"Now more than ever, it is important to find tasty, calorie-free alternatives for sweetening foods and beverages to help those battling obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases," said Dr. Ayoob. "This Institute will play such an important role in educating health professionals, food and beverage manufacturers, public affairs leaders and of course, the consumer about the benefits of incorporating a plant-based sweetener like stevia into their diets."
Stevia (stevia rebaudiana) is a plant native to Paraguay. The leaves from the plant have been safely used for hundreds of years in Paraguay and Brazil to naturally sweeten local teas, and as a "sweet treat". There are several related substances that can be derived from the stevia plant, but the best tasting, purest and sweetest of all of them is Rebaudioside-A .
Stevia was first included in tabletop sweeteners and beverages, and has quickly made its way into other categories because of its ability to naturally reduce calories. Thirty-five countries across six continents have now launched a stevia-sweetened product. According to Mintel, more than 100 new products sweetened with stevia have been launched so far in 2010.
The Global Stevia Institute is supported in full, by PureCircle, Limited™. PureCircle is the global leader in the production of high purity stevia products – its stevia-derived Reb-A has helped customers eliminate a half-trillion calories from American diets(iii). Stevia by PureCircle is the natural, zero-calorie sweetening ingredient of choice by major companies and brands around the world.
PureCircle is a pioneer in the extraction of natural goodness from plants and a leading global producer of natural high-intensity sweeteners, including high-purity Rebaudioside-A (Reb-A). The company has a vertically integrated supply chain operating in three continents. Activities range from breeding of proprietary stevia varieties, sourcing of dry stevia leaves and extraction, and purification of extracts into sweetening ingredients to the marketing of these ingredients to food and beverage manufacturers worldwide. PureCircle is listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market with the ticker symbol: LSE.PURE. For more information, visit www.globalsteviainstitute.com or www.purecircle.com.
(i) United States Department of Agriculture
(ii) Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
(iii) Based on product sales through the end of 2009.