But What About Stevia, Though?!?

You’d think with the ongoing concerns about sugar’s health effects and the safety of artificial sweeteners may boost use of plant-based, natural sweeteners. Right?! And that the sugar-free confectionery market should be
Confectionery – such a cute little word for candy or sweets manufacturers. Isn’t it?!
booming. Right?!

Nope! Wrong! Looking at Innova Market Insights, they show sugar-free lines accounted for less than 7% of global confectionery launches in 2014, which is about the same level to that in 2013. What the what??!! Come peeps! Have you taken another look at stevia?

Honestly, when my family tried this wondrous herb years ago we thought,
WOW! THIS IS GREAT AND NATURAL! Not to mention it was like 10 times sweeter than white sugar. We hit the jackpot in the sugar game!
We were so eager to try it. We tried it in oatmeal for the first time and just about passed out! Why? Because, well, it was 10 times sweeter than sugar and we didn’t know the proper way to really use stevia at the time. A little dab will do ya! Too much is really not that sweet; it’s actually bitter.

And it seems, we weren’t the only ones not knowing how to use stevia. The Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights felt our pain. According to Lu Ann Williams, that is what’s holding manufacturers back from making products with stevia in them.

“Formulation problems and the bitter after-taste of stevia are felt to have held back product activity in some instances, but some sectors have found this less of an issue, particularly licorice sweets and medicated confectionery, and improved formulations are now being introduced to allow more products in other areas.”Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights

A review of new product activity over the past few months reveals a wide range of U.S. introductions featuring stevia, including additions to the Coco Polo and Chocorite chocolate bar ranges, SteviDent’s Stevita chewing gum, Ricola Liquorice Pearls, Rap Protein Gummis and Sencha Naturals Green Tea Mints.

Fears over the health impact of sugar consumption and concerns over the safety of some artificial sweeteners should give a major boost to plant-based “natural” sweeteners, and the development of new sweetener systems is already offering solutions to improving taste profiles.
“The confectionery industry has been perhaps slower to take on stevia sweeteners than originally forecast, and it remains to be seen how take-up will develop over the next few years.” Ms. Williams concluded

Fingers-crossed that the manufacturers can get it just right to push out some great tasting treats using plant-based “natural” sweeteners. In the meantime, give it a whirl yourself. Switch over and use a pinch of stevia in your drinks instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners and see how you like it. We’ve found wonderful ways to use stevia…properly, and will share those with you in coming days. Until then…stay SWEET as stevia!

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