News in brief

Don’t confuse consumers with stevia messages, industry

The take-home lesson of last week’s Stevia World Asia conference is that getting across the right message to consumers is key to growing the market.

According to Mintel, products containing stevia could have a retail value of $2bn by 2011. The potential has recently been vastly expanded by the positive safety opinion from the European Food Safety Authority, published this month.

“The substantial media spend by retail products and the success in the market is accelerating demand,” said Angus Flood, executive vice president of SweetLeaf sweeteners and chair of the conference.

“What is clear from consumer research, is that the stevia industry must not confuse the consumer with differing claims.”

Flood added that the ethical sourcing story behind stevia, including working with rehabilitated families in Colombia who have previously grown illegal crops for cartels, is “messaging that can take this industry successfully to the next level”.

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