1. Historical profile
Stevia was first found early in the 16th century by indigenous people, who used its leaves as sweet drinks. Until 1931, two French researchers isolated the sweetening component (stevioside) from stevia leaves. In 1971, stevioside as a flavour enhancer in Japan, made its debut appearance in food and beverages. Subsequently, Brazil approved the use of stevioside in food and beverages in 1986, followed then by other countries successively throughout the 1990s.
2. Stevioside’s applications in food area
Stevioside can better improve the taste of food, lift product quality and grade, thus generally used in premium foods.
Beverage & cold drink: Due to the cool taste of stevioside, it can be directly used for refreshing drinks and cold drinks. Its high sweetness can swap in for 15%-35% of sucrose to achieve the low sugar production of beverages, fitting in well with diabetic and obese patients and meeting the direction of beverage development.
Pickled products: Using stevioside as a seasoning in pickled products offers a pure and delicious flavour inducing appetite, where it can inhibit too high salty taste in the processing of high salinity pickled products.
Condiment: When used in seasonings, apart from improving the product flavour, stevioside can also reduce the viscosity because of its stable nature and curb microbial growth to extend shelf life.
Alcohol: As stevioside loves acid, when used in ratafia it can help elevate the flavour to taste sweet and sour; in beer, it can enhance foaming; and in wine, can make it sweet and refreshing, a pure taste.
Pastry & biscuits: Stevioside is of high sweetness, adding to the pastry, biscuits and other foods can reduce the amount of sucrose used, to help improve the quality of pastry and prevent caries.
3. Major stevioside manufacturers
Dongtai Runyang Stevia Hi-Tech Co. (GLG Group), Chuzhou Runhai Stevia Hi-Tech Co. (GLG Group), Qingdao Runhao Stevia Hi-Tech Co. (GLG Group), Ganzhou Julong Hi-Tech Industrial Co., and PureCircle (Jiangxi) Biotechnology Co.
(By our own staff)