The Stevia rebaudiana is commonly known as sweet leaf, sugar leaf, or simply Stevia. This is widely grown for its sweet leaves. Organic Stevia
and Sunflower belong to Asteraceae family. The sweet herb Stevia is becoming a major source of natural sweetener as an alternate of sugar. It is rapidly replacing the chemical sweetener like Splenda, Saccharine and Aspartame.
The plant is native to tropical and subtropical regions of North America and South America. There are near about 240 species of Stevia Genus. It is grown widely in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela. In Venezuela it is being used over 1500 years.
Stevia leaves are 30 times sweeter than normal sugar. The extract of stevia Rebaudioside-A is around 300-400 times sweeter than normal sugar. The sweetness of stevia also felt for long time.
There are two compounds in stevia leaves 1.)
- Stevioside(10%-20%) and
The Stevioside is stable at 100 °C this is main advantage of Steviocide over other sweetener.
Today stevia is ready to become King in the market of sweetener. As demand of low carbohydrate sweetener is rising day by day.
A good market is being developed for stevia domestically as well as internationally. This is a ray of hope for the diabetic patient. As it is natural source of sweetener. It is also used for the treatment of obesity and high blood sugar patient. There is not increase in sugar level after consumption of stevia as sweetener as substitute of normal sugar.
Stevia, there for, opens up new avenues for crop diversification and a viable alternative to sugarcane. There is a potential to use Stevia in soft drinks, confectionery and bakery etc. Instead of sweeteners with known adverse side effects in the long run. Stevia prevents tooth decay with its microbial property . Majority of the supplementary food products for diabetic patients emphasize on the fibre & protein content the addition of the Stevia leaves, dried or in powder form, in such products would not only aid in increasing the natural sweetness but would also help in rejuvenating the pancreatic gland.
Apart from this, Stevia is nutrient rich, containing substantial amount of Protein, Magnesium, Miocene, riboflavin, Zinc, Chromium, Selenium, Calcium & Phosphorus, Besides Stevia can also be used as a house hold sweetener in preparation of most Indian sweetmeats.
There are different views about stevia in different countries. Countries like Japan and Korea; it is widely used as sweetener. In some countries use of stevia is banned. Initially US govt banned stevia but in year 2008 the extract of stevia Rebaudioside-A was approved as food additive. Today the number of countries is increasing where stevia is available
Stevia crop has good potential in India. There is low risk in this crop. The investment in stevia is also tax free as it is agriculture production. The return also starts to come early. As it is planted for five years so the cost of plantation also accrue one time in five in 5 years. There is high potential of return as compared to traditional crop.
Use of Stevia :
Stevia is available in many forms. The choice is totally dependent amount of sweetness we want. The fresh leaves are least sweet and the extracted white powder is the sweetest.
- Fresh Stevia Leaves
This form of stevia is the herb in its most natural, unrefined state. A leaf picked from a stevia plant and chewed will impart an extremely sweet taste sensation reminiscent of licorice that lasts for quite a while. For stevia to have a more practical application as a tea or sweetener, the leaves must be dried or put through an extraction process, which makes the sweet taste even more potent.
- Dried Leaves
Dried Stevia Leaves are considerably sweeter than the fresh one, and are the form of Stevia used in brewing herbal tea.
- Stevia Extracts
The form in which Stevia is primarily used as a sweetener in Japan is that of a white powdered extract. In this form it is approximately 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar (by weight).
- Liquid Concentrates
These come in several forms. There's a syrupy black liquid (that results from boiling the leaves in water), which can enhance the flavor of many foods. Another type is made by steeping Stevia leaves in distilled water or a mix of water and grain alcohol. You can also find a liquid made from the white powder concentrate mixed with water, and preserved with grapefruit seed extract.
The Healthiest Sugar Alternatives
Disease in which the body doesn’t produce or proIt’s almost impossible to live without sugar. That’s probably why so many people can’t stay away from it even if research studies and experts have proven that too much sugar can be harmful to the body. In particular there is the worldwide concern of sugar diabetes which affects millions of people everywhere, and some aren’t even aware of it. As many of us know too well, sugar diabetes is a serious illness.
It can lead to other health complications including: heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, nerve damage, skin conditions and depression just to name a few. There have been several artificial sweeteners and sugar replacements out in the market, but not all of them are natural and healthy. Though some sugar alternatives slightly affect blood sugar levels, at least they offer some nutritional benefits because they are less processed than refined sugar. No need to suffer a life without sugar’s wonderfully sweet taste. HCMS offers the best Naturally Sweet product choices by using the natural goodness and sweetness of the most natural and healthiest sugar alternatives, Stevia .Now, you can continue savouring the taste of sugar without the guilt.
High intensity sweetener that does not impact blood glucose levels
Stevia is a perennial plant, but can be grown as an annual or perennial depending on the growing region. Today, the plant is primarily grown commercially in South America and Asia for the sweet constituents in its leaves. Stevia typically is grown to 1 meter in height before the plant is hand-harvested and its leaves dried.
The sweetness found in the stevia plant is released by steeping its dried leaves in water, filtering and separating the liquid from the leaves and stems, and further purifying the plant extract with either water or food grade alcohol – all conventional plant extraction methods. The result is a naturally sourced, high intensity sweetener that does not impact blood glucose levels.
For decades, high purity stevia extracts have been approved for use in foods and beverages in Japan. Positive safety opinions from global food safety authorities, including the World Health Organization/Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives, the European Food Safety Authority, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are opening markets for this new and exciting sweetener.
Stevia Approved By FSSAI
Big Opportunity for farmers by (FSSAI)
Minutes of the Tenth Meeting of Food Authority held on 20th September, 2012 at 1100 hrs at FDA Bhavan, New Delhi .Approval of use of Steviol Glycoside as an artificial sweetener in various food.
The Food Authority noted the recommendations of the Scientific Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food & Scientific
Committee and approved the :
Use of Steviol Glycoside as an non-nutritive sweetener in 11 food items based
Market drivers include :
- Dairy Based drinks flavored
- Dairy based desserts (ice cream, frozen desserts, cream toppings)
- Fruit nectars
- Non carbonated water based beverages (non-alcoholic)
- Ice Lollies / Edible Ice
- Jams, jellies, marmalades
- Ready to eat cereals
- Carbonated water
- Soft Drink Concentrate
- Chewing gum
Soaring rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Increases in the rates of these diseases are linked to high consumption of sugar and/or high-calorie sweeteners, and are soaring worldwide.
Consumer demand for low and non-calorie, natural foods with clear labelling. Consumers worldwide also remain concerned about artificial sweeteners’ safety.
Governments facing rapidly rising health care goods. Governments worldwide are developing policies and regulations to penalize unhealthy diets and support healthy ones.
Michelle’s Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative targets childhood obesity. In June 2009, top US nutrition experts, health organizations, leading doctors and medical academics joined forces to ask President Barack Obama to combat obesity by creating a Presidential Commission on “Healthy Weights, Healthy Lives” to coordinate the activities of the Departments of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, and other agencies involved in food and health, to create policies that promote health across the country.
Sugar prices recently hit 30-year highs. Rising demand for corn for biofuel has been pushing up the price for sugar’s traditional lower-cost alternative, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
The rapidly growing demand for stevia sweeteners is also in lockstep with a looming shortfall in sugar supply. Driven largely by increasing demand in India and China, the price of sugar price rose from about $0.10 per lb. to more than $0.60 per lb. over the last 10 years. Global sugar consumption is forecast to rise by more than 50% to nearly 260 million tons by 2030. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that stevia could eventually replace 20%-30% of the global dietary sweetener intake.
Stevia’s Popularity Spans the Globe
Food consultancy Zenith International reports that stevia products saw a 27% increase in worldwide volume sales in 2010 over 2009, taking its overall market value to US$285 million. From mid-2009 to mid-2010, new product launches using stevia extracts increased by 200%, with products launched in 35 countries – 237 new products in the first half of 2010 alone, according to market research firm Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD). Mintel values the natural sweetener product market at US $763 million in 2010, with the stevia market alone at $670 million. A leading stevia manufacturer has projected that stevia will penetrate 20% to 25% of the US$60 billion global sugar/ sweetener market.
Regulatory approval in the European Union (granted in November 2011) has set the stage for stevia use to explode on the other side of the Atlantic in 2012 and beyond. Asia Pacific, where the ingredient has been used as a sweetener in some regions for decades, has the largest market share for stevia at 35.7%, followed by North America (30%) and South America (24.3%).
Countries where stevia extracts have been approved for use in food and beverages include