Tate & Lyle, a leading global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, together with its stevia partner Sweet Green Fields, is pleased to announce a new research project to assess the sustainability of the stevia sweetener supply chain.
Earthwatch, an independent, international non-profit environmental science-based organization, aims to identify steps to ensure that as the stevia market grows, sustainable growing practices are embedded consistently and socio-economic benefits are maximized.
Tate & Lyle, in partnership with Sweet Green Fields and Earthwatch, will use the research insights to establish and spread sustainability best practice across its stevia supply chains and beyond.
Stevia is a naturally sourced low calorie sweetener that is increasingly popular with food and beverage producers looking for consumer-friendly, great-tasting sugar alternatives that help them to reduce sugar and calories in their products. Much of the world’s stevia supply is grown in China on a mix of small to larger farms, including the leaf for Tate & Lyle’s stevia ingredients and those produced by its partner, Sweet Green Fields.
Earthwatch-led local scientists have begun conducting on-the-ground research in China to evaluate the socio-environmental impacts of stevia production, including analyzing soil, water, waste, and energy impacts, as well as the effect on farming communities. Earthwatch will engage with a wide range of stakeholders in the stevia supply chain, from seedling producers to family-run planters and industrial farms.
Steven Loiselle, senior research manager at Earthwatch, said: “Stevia farming is a key economic activity in many areas in China and a rapidly growing global ingredient for sugar replacement. Our project, working with leading researchers, producers and others, shows how multi-partner collaborations can be used to promote sustainable production. By working with local scientists and experts within China we are developing new knowledge for both Tate & Lyle, the broader stevia industry and local communities.”
Abigail Storms, VP Sweetener Platform and Global Platform Marketing at Tate & Lyle, said: “As a leading provider of stevia to the food industry, Tate & Lyle wants to ensure that using stevia in greater quantities in the future as a replacement for sugar is a responsible choice for Tate & Lyle, as well as a healthy choice for consumers around the world.”