Low-calorie sweetener brand Splenda and its parent company, Heartland Food Products Group have announced the opening of Splenda Stevia Farm, an integrated, US-based stevia farm. Now operational in Central Florida, the farm aims to produce good tasting sweetener while building on an emerging US agriculture industry and decreasing environmental impact by eliminating unnecessary CO2 emissions caused by current global stevia supply chain operations.
The operations of the farm will enable Splenda to domestically produce stevia products and other Splenda sweetened foods and beverages. Its sweeteners are used for bakery applications such as breads, cakes, cookies and pies.
“By growing higher-quality stevia plants and producing better and sweeter-tasting stevia sweeteners, we can help consumers achieve their sugar reduction goals. Additionally, by growing stevia in the US, we are helping to build a new American agriculture industry and bring more farming jobs and economic prosperity to Central Florida with this US$50 million initial investment,” said Ted Gelov, Chairman & CEO of Heartland. “Until now, all stevia has been grown and processed from markets outside the US, mainly China. The approach we’ve engineered with our Splenda Stevia Farm gives US farmers an opportunity to grow and process stevia right on their own farms. Our ultimate goal is to help Americans cut unwanted sugar from their diets by 25% or more by the year 2030.”
From inception, the stevia farm management team designed the 1465 acre farm to be eco-conscious. Growing stevia in the US means Splenda will reduce CO2 emissions by simplifying the heavy transportation infrastructure, eliminating the need to transport products overseas.
“Splenda’s consistency of sweetness from acre to acre is the result of our all-natural process, without genetic engineering, that utilizes the propagation of mother plants with the sweetest combinations of stevia glycosides,” added Ricardo Reyes, EVP, Global Manufacturing, Quality and R&D, Heartland Food Products. “Splenda has been investing in the natural breeding of stevia plants for more than 20 years, producing stevia plants with a variety of flavour profiles that can be used to develop customised sweetener blends.”
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