Both posts were among the most-discussed entries on SkinnyChef.com, and I have continued to keep an eye on food additives and artificial sweeteners. In the meantime, there has been a new addition to the artificial sweetener arsenal – stevia.
Commonly also referred to as Rebiana, Truvia or PureVia – stevia-extracts were recognized in December 2008 by the FDA as “generally safe”, opening the door for soft-drink companies to roll out new “zero-calorie” drinks and waters.
A couple stevia and HFCS news items came across my desk this week that add further to the topics:
Starbucks Latest to Shun High-Fructose Corn Syrup
When a company as big as Starbucks backs away from high-fructose corn syrup, you know the sweetener’s in trouble. It’s not a new trend; use of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been dropping steadily for the past six years, and companies like PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple have begun touting new sugar-based products as “natural” alternatives. Read more »
Stevia Presents Bitter Challenge
Flavor experts are still trying to unlock the secrets of stevia. Extracts from the South American plant have the benefit of being all-natural, zero calories, and up to three hundred times sweeter than sugar. Apparently, stevia is one superhero that requires a mask. It has an aftertaste that’s either bitter, licorice-flavored, or of “clinging sweetness.” Drink makers are still enthusiastic about stevia, but clearly there remains some work to be done. Read more »
Price, Taste and ‘Natural’ Status Still Hurdles for Stevia
It’s been predicted that stevia will revitalize the soft drinks industry, but stevia’s bitter aftertaste has proved a challenge. Cargill says it’s developed ways to make various stevia-sweetened products taste natural, including cereal, yogurt, ice cream and beverages.
Marion Nestle wrote in her April 30 entry on The Daily Green: “We can debate whether a chemical sweetener isolated from Stevia leaves is really “natural” but here’s another problem: Stevia doesn’t taste like sugar. Companies have to fuss with it to cover up its off taste. And, they must do so “without detracting from the perceived benefits of its natural status.” Flavor companies are working like mad to find substances that block Stevia’s bitter taste, mask its off flavors, and extend its sweetness, while staying within the scope of what the FDA allows as “natural.” Read more »