Partnerships in North Carolina Help Stevia Business Boom

PureCircle, stevia producer for beverage and food industries, is expanding its stevia production with the StarLeaf variety. The company says it sources stevia from plants grown around the world but this year’s dramatic production increase is from North Carolina farmers.

Nearly 16,000 tons of the company’s stevia will be StarLeaf—a 200% increase over 2017.

Farmers in North Carolina are converting old tobacco fields to grow StarLeaf stevia varieties. This provides farmers with access to a new market and puts what could have been fallow land back into production.

The variety PureCircle is pushing—on about 80% of their contracted acres—StartLeaf is said to yield 20 times more than others while maintaining taste. The company says it will increase StarLeaf to 90% of its production in 2019.

“The food and beverage industry has seen a steady increase in product launches featuring stevia as an ingredient, as evidenced by the 10% increase in 2017 as compared to 2016 according to Mintel [global market research and insight company],” PureCircle says in a recent press release. “In 2017 alone, about 3,500 products launched with stevia.”