GLORIOUS Industrial and Development Corp. (GIDC) said stevia sales are expected to be driven by a more health-conscious consuming public, with a positive performance seen despite the pandemic.
Maura David de Leon, GIDC president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Tuesday that consumers are currently shunning artificial sweeteners in favor of stevia, which is perceived as natural and healthy.
Stevia is a plant grown in tropical climates and is in wide use in South Korea, Brazil, China, and Paraguay as an alternative sweetener.
“Stevia has been touted as a safe and healthy sugar substitute with proven health benefits. It can sweeten food, and it has several health benefits, including decreased calorie intake, lower blood sugar levels, and less risk of cavities,” Ms. De Leon said.
Ms. De Leon said stevia-sweetened products manufactured by the company include tea, juice, coffee, and chocolate beverages. Natural sweeteners are deemed safe and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even for consumers with diabetes.
“Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so you don’t have to add much. It’s good to note that the Philippines is also catching up on the use of this natural sweetener in various food preparations,” Ms. De Leon said.
Citing estimates from Dutch agribusiness finance institution Rabobank, the company said stevia sales are projected to hit $700 million worldwide in the coming years.
According to GIDC, its beverages using stevia have no calories or carbohydrates, and are rated at zero on the glycemic index.
“People who have diabetes can benefit from stevia. Choosing pure stevia extract can help maintain normal blood sugar levels and should be used in moderation. Stevia can also help cut down on added sugar consumption, which can be beneficial for children,” the company said.
“Substituting stevia for sugar can minimize these risks. At the same time, moderate consumption of foods with stevia and other sweeteners can prevent adverse side effects and promote overall health,” it added.
According to its website, GIDC is the first stevia grower and manufacturer in the Philippines. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave