PureCircle Begins Partnering With U.S. Farmers Who Have Grown Tobacco, To Now Grow Stevia

PureCircle Begins Partnering With U.S. Farmers Who Have Grown Tobacco, To Now Grow Stevia

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 2017

Partnerships Create New Economic Opportunities for Tobacco Farmers In North Carolina to Grow Sustainable, Highly-Sought After Crop Supplying Stevia Sweeteners to Food and Beverage Companies

CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- PureCircle (LSE: PURE), the world's leading producer and innovator of great-tasting stevia sweeteners for the global beverage and food industries, announces a new stevia farming program in the United States. The program will provide economic opportunities  for tobacco farmers looking for a sustainable crop which is in high demand by the global food and beverage industry.

Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/615206/PureCircle_stevia_plants.jpg

This past fall, PureCircle partnered with North Carolina farmers to successfully plant and harvest StarLeaf™ stevia in small trial plots. PureCircle and its partner-farmers will significantly increase commercial production of StarLeaf™ stevia for the next planting season.

PureCircle's StarLeaf™ is a variety of the stevia plant that contains rich amounts of the most sugar-like tasting, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners. The project in North Carolina is part of PureCircle's global program to scale up StarLeaf™ production, while also providing domestically grown stevia to the North American market.

The trials this fall confirmed stevia grows well in soil and climate conditions that were conducive to growing tobacco.  With the declining demand for tobacco, stevia cultivation offers farmers in North Carolina the opportunity to increase returns and productivity of their acreage.

Stevia is becoming the preferred zero-calorie sweetener among consumers and consumer product companies. The percentage of beverage and food products launched containing stevia increased by 13% in Q2 2017 compared to Q2 2016.  StarLeaf™ stevia will help companies accelerate launches of  reduced and zero-calorie products by making available sweeteners with the most sugar-like taste derived from a plant-based source.

James Foxton, Vice President of Agricultural Operations at PureCircle, said:

"We are proud to introduce stevia as a crop in North Carolina.  This program will boost the economic prospects of agriculture in that state by providing a viable alternative to tobacco. We look forward to working together with farmers in expanding stevia production and establishing a North American stevia supply chain for PureCircle.

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