The alliance will see French stevia extraction and production specialists Stevia Natura unite with Stevia Internacional Europe and its partners tocreate the only European player capable of producing steviol glycosides extracted from Stevia rebaudiana in the European Union
Other firms includingagro-industrial group Cristal Union and its subsidiary Cristalco, flavor and fragrance producer Mane SA, and French distributor Lavollée with its subsidiary Firmalis, will unite with the companies to produce and distribute the stevia product that will be marketed as ‘made in France.’
"Our goal is to become the European leader in the production and sale of Stevia extracts," said Joël Perret, president of Stevia Natura .
"The complementarity is the basis of this agreement,” added Hervé Ory Lavollée , CEO of Stevia Internacional Europe, and president of Lavollée. “At the operational level, Stevia Natura, which is on top of the technical competence of our territory, will rely on the sales teams of three other partners.”
The partnership will also see the creation of a new pharmaceutical-grade production facility near Clermont-Ferrand that will be capable of producing around 400 tons of stevia per year and is designed to be able to increase production capacity according to market demand.
This new plant, due for completion at the end of the year, will comply with the most demanding quality standards of HACCP and pharmaceutical GMP, the firms said.
Perret said that another major advantage for the alliance is the ability to share experiences and complementary knowledge, which will ensure the traceability of extracts and that manufacturing capabilities comply with standards and European regulations.
"This market is going to really take off in the European food industry because the combined technical offer by Stevia Natura and Stevia Internacional Europewill allow opportunities in the market to be converted through the safe sourcing and controlled quality of finished raw materials produced in a 100% French facility,” said Perret.
Hervé Ory Lavollée explained that from an operational perspective, Stevia Natura will concentrate its strengths in production, R&D and analytical methodologies, while the sales teams of the other partners will concentrate on business development in France and its wider EU network.
"The combination of a French producer of stevia extract, a sugar producer, a flavour manufacturer and a distributor of specialties is unique and complementary for the development of this sweetener,” added Alain Commissaire, chairman of CristalCo.