Is Starbucks New Stevia Product a Move in the Right Direction?

Starting September 6, Starbucks customers will notice something new at the condiment bar. In addition to the four sweeteners in pink, blue, white and yellow packets, they will find a fifth option in green called Whole Earth Sweetener Company’s Nature Sweet packets.

“This is Starbucks first Stevia-based zero-calorie sweetener,” said Nick DeJulio, Starbucks brand manager. “Whole Earth Sweetener Company’s sweetener will help us address the needs of customers looking to cut back on calories without compromising on taste.”

Stevia and Monk Fruit

Whole Earth Sweetener Company’s sweetener packets will be available in nearly 9,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. and Canada. It is a combination of Stevia and monk fruit extracts.

“Every sweetener sourced from natural ingredients has different flavor characteristics. Some become sweet quickly then dissipate, while others have undesirable aftertastes,” said Russ Moroz, vice president of Research & Development and Quality, Whole Earth Sweetener Company. “The magic in Whole Earth Sweetener Company’s Nature Sweet is a premium proprietary blend of sweeteners sourced from natural ingredients that are carefully crafted to offer the same great flavor profile as sugar without the calories.”

Starbucks evaluated many potential sweeteners. Whole Earth Sweetener Company’s Nature Sweet blend of Stevia plus monk fruit won out.

“Nature Sweet is the result of decades of work to identify, develop and create the right combination of sweeteners,” said Moroz. “Through third-party taste testing, we found that it met consumer expectations for a great-tasting Stevia-based sweetener particularly in coffee and iced tea.”

“Our approach to health and wellness includes providing options for customers to make their coffee, tea and handcrafted beverages the way that they like,” said DeJulio. “Nature Sweet is an exciting new customization option for them to try.”

What Is Monk Fruit?

Whole Earth Sweetener Company’s Nature Sweet is a blend of Stevia and Monk fruit. Also known as luo han guo, Monk fruit is grown in orchards that are nestled in the mountains of Southeast Asia. It is a small, round fruit that Buddhist monks have harvested for use as a sweetener for nearly 800 years. The fruit extract is about 150-200 times sweeter than sugar.

In Asia, monk fruit is a traditional food and has been used for centuries as a low-calorie beverage and food ingredient. Monk fruit seedlings and fruit are GMO-free, and monk fruit juice and extract are void of artificial chemicals. In addition to tabletop sweeteners, monk fruit may be found in certain beverages, baked goods, yogurts, sauces, desserts and candies.



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