Why was stevia absent at Biofach 2022?

Biofach opened its doors again in Nuremberg from 26-29 July 2022. Biofach is the world's leading fair for the organic food sector. This year, it became clear that the consumer demand for natural sweeteners has increased. Several exhibitors showcased organic sugar alternatives, such as coconut sugar and agave syrup. But why was the popular sugar alternative stevia not represented at Biofach?

Is stevia an organic sweetener?

Among several organic sugar alternatives, stevia was noticeably absent at Biofach. All exhibited products at Biofach need organic certification. But steviol glycosides are not organic according to the European Union's (EU) organic regulations,  even if they are extracted from organic stevia leaves.  This is because the extraction process uses an ion-exchange resin.

Stevia infusions to sweeten organic food

Stevia could have been part of Biofach, though prepared in another way. Stevia infusions are lesser-known, innovative extracts to sweeten organic food and drinks. For example, stevia tea infusions have several applications as a sweetener. Tea, herb and fruit infusions prepared with organic stevia leaves, or containing them, can be certified organic since stevia leaves for infusions gained approval in the EU in 2017.

The challenging aftertaste of stevia

Consumers and producers often consider the aftertaste of stevia to be quite bitter. So, organic food and drink producers do not always want to use this sweetener in their products. It is a challenge for organic stevia extract producers to change this common opinion. Companies such as Betterfoods, who visit Biofach, take on this challenge and supply organic stevia extract to the organic food and drinks industry.

Learn more

To learn more about the market potential of organic stevia leaves and entry requirements for this product, read the CBI stevia studies and the CBI studies about exporting coconut sugar to Europe.

Dana Chahin wrote this news article for CBI.

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