Tate & Lyle PLC (Tate & Lyle), a leading global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, together with its stevia partner Sweet Green Fields1, has announced a new research project to assess the sustainability of the stevia sweetener supply chain. Earthwatch, an independent, international non-profit environmental science-based organisation, is leading the stevia supply chain review, which aims to identify steps to ensure that as the stevia market grows, sustainable growing practices are embedded consistently and socio-economic benefits are maximised.
Tate & Lyle, in partnership with Sweet Green Fields and Earthwatch, will use the research insights to establish and spread sustainability best practice across its stevia supply chains and beyond.
Stevia is a naturally sourced low calorie sweetener that is increasingly popular with food and beverage producers looking for consumer-friendly, great-tasting sugar alternatives that help them to reduce sugar and calories in their products. Much of the world’s stevia supply is grown in China on a mix of small to larger farms, including the leaf for Tate & Lyle’s stevia ingredients and those produced by its partner, Sweet Green Fields.
Earthwatch-led local scientists have begun conducting on-the-ground research in China to evaluate the socio-environmental impacts of stevia production, including analysing soil, water, waste, and energy impacts, as well as the effect on farming communities. Earthwatch will engage with a wide range of stakeholders in the stevia supply chain, from seedling producers to family-run planters and industrial farms.