Coca-Cola Singapore, in partnership with the PureCircle Stevia Institute, was proud to present Know Your Stevia on Wednesday, 28 February against the lush backdrop of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. A diverse audience that included academics, policy makers, healthcare professionals, as well as food and beverage industry professionals were invited to learn more about stevia and its benefits in sugar replacement. In support of the Health Promotion Board’s goal to reduce Singaporeans’ sugar intake by 25% in two years to combat diabetes and obesity, the event expanded on stevia’s benefits as a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener and discussed the opportunities for stevia, in addition to other non-caloric sweeteners for reformulating or innovating food and beverage products in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Two esteemed guest speakers shared their expertise on stevia. First up to speak was Dr. Margaret Ashwell, OBE, PhD., a renowned nutrition and stevia expert and a member of the PureCircle Stevia Institute Board of Advisors. Dr. Ashwell began by setting the scene with an impactful graphic representation mapping obesity rates across the globe, zooming in on its impact in Singapore. She then highlighted the facts on stevia and its benefit as a substitute for sugar and how the natural sweetener could be used to help lower sugar consumption amongst Singaporeans.
Following Dr. Ashwell, Chief Operating Officer of PureCircle Ltd Mr. Gary Juncosa gave his insights into stevia research, production, and sustainability, as well as the potential opportunities for stevia in the food and beverage industry. Starting by highlighting the developments PureCircle has achieved in ensuring that stevia is grown sustainably while delivering uncompromising taste, Mr. Juncosa also gave a rundown of the current commercialisation trends of stevia as well as the heightening awareness of stevia across markets. He rounded off his presentation on an anticipative note, enthusiastic about stevia’s promising success and growing presence in Southeast Asia and Singapore.
Also joining Dr. Ashwell and Mr. Juncosa was Chef Gary of D’Open Kitchen, who treated the audience to a cooking with stevia demonstration. While describing the ease and benefits of cooking with stevia, Chef Gary whipped up delectable dishes of sweet and sour meatballs and dark chocolate mousse, which were met with highly positive reviews and requests for second helpings.
As the first major product made with stevia in Singapore, Coca-Cola Stevia was recently launched in 7-Eleven outlets in January 2018 and will be available nation-wide in March. Made with a combination of sugar and stevia, Coca-Cola Stevia contains 35% less sugar than Coca-Cola Classic while still boasting the same great taste. This is part of ongoing innovation efforts illustrating Coca-Cola’s commitment to refining recipes to reduce or replace sugar and launching drinks with lesser or no sugar. Coca-Cola Stevia is the latest addition to Coca-Cola’s range of lower or no sugar options, providing Coca-Cola drinkers in Singapore with a new healthier choice.