Announced on the second day of the IFT 2016 show in Chicago, the new program reflects a “commitment to providing our customers with the largest, natural supply of stevia leaf extract,” said Jordi Ferre, PureCircle’s chief operating officer, in a press release.
With the new program, the London Stock Exchange-listed company will start focusing on growing the stevia plants in other regions. “Since the company started in 2012, we’ve invested heavily in [growing in different regions],” Faith Son, vice president of global marketing and innovation, told FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT 2016 show. Up to now, China has been the primary area where PureCircle’s stevia is grown.
“We’re diversifying where it’s grown to over 15 regions in the world, some are in Asia but they’re primarily in South America and Africa,” she added.
In sum, the $100 million investment will support sustainable agricultural expansion around the world, research and development in breeding methods, and close support to farmers through training and providing planting materials.
When asked about any fair trade certifications, Son said: "Our customers have successfully [been] certified Fair Trade." PureCircle works together with its customers to provide required documentation to show certifying authorities.
“It’s something we’ve been looking to, but it's more of a consumer-facing certification— I say we abide by the principles of fair trade,” Son added.