Cargill-DSM joint venture Avansya has begun production at its first commercial-scale fermentation facility for stevia sweeteners in the US, to meet the increasing consumer demand for reduced-sugar food and beverages.
The $50 million fermentation facility will produce sweet-tasting molecules such as Reb M and Reb D used to make EverSweet, a non-artificial, zero-calorie stevia sweetener.
Located in Blair, Nebraska, the 10,000 square-foot facility will be operated by Cargill and intends to offer food and beverage manufacturers a sustainable, more scalable and low cost-in-use solution than extracting the molecules from the stevia leaf.
EverSweet is suitable for use in products such as yogurt, chocolate milk, soft drinks, ice cream, cereal, bars and confections.
The sweetener is GRAS and FEMA GRAS approved for use in food and beverage products in the US and Mexico, while additional regulatory approvals for use in other countries are underway.
According to the companies, the market for high-intensity sweeteners produced by fermentation is expected to exceed $3 billion by 2025.
Cargill’s managing director and chairman of Avansya, Mike Wagner, said: “Building this first-of-its-kind, stevia sweetener fermentation facility on the existing Cargill Blair campus reaffirms our pledge to helping food and beverage manufacturers meet the sharply rising consumer demand for great-tasting, zero-calorie products to meet their dietary needs and goals.”
“The need for effective solutions for advanced sugar reduction on a global scale has never been clearer or more urgent,” said Patrick Niels, president of DSM Food Specialties and Avansya board member.
Niels added: “With today’s opening, we are showing that as an industry, we can do more, and faster, to innovate and provide consumers around the world with reduced- and zero-calorie food and beverage products, with no compromise on taste, and to help support good health and well-being in our societies.”
Cargill and DSM announced the forming of joint venture company Avansya in November last year.