Avansya fermentation facility begins EverSweet stevia sweetener production

The Netherlands-based Avansya has started production at its new $50 million fermentation facility in Blair, Nebraska of EverSweet – a non-artificial, zero-calorie stevia sweetener.

The Avansya fermentation facility will produce sweet-tasting molecules like Reb M and Reb D, the ingredients to make EverSweet. The stevia sweetener factory is expected to provide food and beverage producers an even more scalable, sustainable and low cost-in-use solution compared to the process of extracting the molecules from the stevia leaf.

Avansya is a joint venture between agrifood company Cargill and science-based company Royal DSM. According to Cargill, the market for high-intensity sweeteners produced through the fermentation process is likely to cross $3 billion by the year 2025.

Mike Wagner – Cargill managing director and chairman of Avansya board, commenting on the fermentation facility in Blair, said: “Building this first-of-its-kind, stevia sweetener fermentation facility on the existing Cargill Blair campus reaffirms our pledge to helping food and beverage manufacturers meet the sharply rising consumer demand for great-tasting, zero-calorie products to meet their dietary needs and goals. It also reaffirms our commitment to strengthening the business community and Nebraska as a biotechnology mecca.”

Avansya fermentation facility in Blair

Cargill-DSM joint venture Avansya fermentation facility in Blair which produces the EverSweet stevia sweetener. Photo courtesy of Cargill.

Cargill said that the stevia sweetener fermentation facility, which spans 10,000sft, took nearly 225,000 hours for its construction, is equipped with six miles of new piping and 2,000 new instruments. The fermentation factory, which is being operated by Cargill, also has fermenters and evaporators.

As per Cargill, the clean taste profile of EverSweet is suitable to be used in products like yogurt, chocolate milk, ice cream, soft drinks, cereal, confections, and bars.

Avansya is said to have commercial volumes of the stevia sweetener available and is already supplying EverSweet to some of its customers. The company is expected to launch further consumer products in the coming months across various market segments.

Currently, more than 300 customer trials and product development projects are going on, said Cargill.

The agrifood company said that EverSweet is GRAS and FEMA GRAS approved for use in food and beverage products in the US and Mexico with more regulatory approvals being sought for the use of the stevia sweetener in other countries.

Commenting on the new stevia sweetener production plant in Blair, Patrick Niels – President of DSM Food Specialties and Avansya board member, said: “The need for effective solutions for advanced sugar reduction on a global scale has never been clearer or more urgent. With today’s opening, we are showing that, as an industry, we can do more, and faster, to innovate and provide consumers around the world with reduced- and zero-calorie food and beverage products, with no compromise on taste, and so help support good health and well-being in our societies.”

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