November 14, 2011 – Coca-Cola Europe welcomed the decision of the European Commission to allow steviol glycosides (Stevia) for use as a sweetener in food and beverages. Thanks to this decision, the company will be able to offer its customers a more extensive selection of reduced calorie beverages.
Dominique Reiniche, President of Coca-Cola Europe, said:
“Coca-Cola Europe welcomes the approval of the European Commission for the use of stevia as a sweetener in food and beverages throughout Europe. Adding stevia to the range of sweeteners we currently use in our beverages will enable us to introduce further product innovations and offer consumers the best-tasting beverages. Considering that we want to develop our product portfolio and provide consumers with even more choice, it is a very important decision for us.”
The Introduction of Stevia as a Sweetener
The introduction of stevia is another stage in the successful development of the zero calorie category of products carried out by Coca-Cola Europe. Almost 30 years ago, Coca-Cola Europe introduced the first 0 calorie drink – Coca-Cola light.
Currently, two-thirds of the company’s beverage brands have their own variants with zero or reduced calorific value, and these products represent 30% of the sales volume of 140 brands of Coca-Cola in Europe.
History of Stevia Usage
By expanding the range of products, the average calorie content per serving of carbonated drinks produced by Coca-Cola Europe has fallen by 10% over the last ten years. The company intends to continue working on innovations using a range of sweeteners in its beverages, which will allow them to offer excellent products with even lower calorific value, meeting the consumers’ tastes.
Stevia is another example of innovation and commitment of The Coca-Cola Company in offering consumers what they need. Stevia has been approved for use as a sweetener in food and beverages in France since 2009, while The Coca-Cola Company was the first company in Europe to introduce sweetened stevia into this market in combination with other natural sweeteners.
Since March 2010, French consumers have been able to buy sweetened stevia Fanta Still, which contains 30% less sugar.
The Coca-Cola Company has been working on innovations in the sweeteners market for nearly 50 years to provide consumers with access to a wide range of products. Stevia used in beverages is the result of the pioneering work of The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill to develop a calorie-free sweetener of natural origin.
Companies from the Coca-Cola system are a leader on the market of non-alcoholic beverages and employ over 3,000 people.