Coca-Cola & Cargill, Inc. Patent & Will Sell 'Stevia' In Drinks & Foods

From Times Online May 31, 2007
Coke teams up with Cargill to launch new sweetener
Giants of food and drinks aim to develop their own rival to NutraSweet
and Tate & Lyle's sucralose to meet health demand
Robert Lindsay

Coca-Cola and food ingredient giant Cargill have teamed up to market a
new calorie-free natural sweetener they hope will shake up the global
market currently dominated by Tate & Lyle's sucralose and Splenda and
US company NutraSweet.

The sweetener, tentatively named rebiana, will be based on the Stevia
plant native to Paraguay but increasingly used as a health food in the
Far East and Hollywood, The Wall Street Journal reports today.

Coca-Cola has filed 24 patents applications in the past week around
extracting the tastiest parts of the Stevia plant and is seeking
exclusive rights to develop and market rebiana for use in drinks,
while Cargill, one of the world's largest agribusiness and trading
companies, owned by the founding Cargill and MacMillan families, will
market it for use in food such as yoghurt, cereals, ice cream and

It has spent the past three years developing Stevia plantations in
China, Paraguay and Argentina.

However, the two companies acknowledge that they face regulatory
troubles since Stevia has been banned in the US and EU after a 1985
medical study linked the plant to liver problems.

They aim to market it first in countries where Stevia is not banned,
such as Japan and South America, and Cargill seeks to help regulatory
approval in the US by sponsoring more scientific studies.

Coca-Cola has been attempting to develop its own sweetener from the
Stevia plant for the past 10 years.

The beverages giant has resisted using Tate & Lyle's sucralose
sweetener in its diet fizzy drinks, it is thought because it believes
it leaves an aftertaste.

Instead it mainly used NutraSweet, made by the Chicago company of the
same name.

Tate & Lyle last week blamed a failure to penetrate the vast US
carbonated diet drinks market for disappointing sales of Splenda, its
artificial sweetener, which make up 20 per cent of group profits.

Iain Ferguson, the chief executive, admitted that US sales of Splenda,
had been "less than we had hoped for" during the year to March 30.

"We have not yet cracked any of the major lines there," he said and
warned that profits growth from the product would be only modest in
the current year.

Cargill is the second-largest privately held business in the United
States after Koch Industries.

In 2006, Cargill's sales of $75.2 billion would have ranked it 18th on
the Fortune 500 list.

It handles a quarter of all US grain exports, ships more than 6
million tonnes of sugar a year, and is a world leader in cocoa and

Through Degussa, it also has leading positions in ingredients, such as
salt, flour, malt, sweeteners, starches.

©Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd
Read the full story here.

Posted on June 1, 2007 in Stevia | Link

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