Agriculture

10 Things You Might Not Know About Stevia

This fall, three Stevia One-owned farms in northern Peru became the first of their kind to earn Rainforest Alliance certification. We’re celebrating this sweet sustainability milestone with a few fun facts about the zero-calorie sugar substitute.

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  1. There are nearly 300 plants in the Stevia genus, but the Stevia rebaudiana plant is the only one with incredibly sweet properties.
  2. Stevia grows wild in Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and a number of other South American countries.
  3. The sweet leaf may have been used in pre-Columbian times to sweeten mate, a traditional South American beverage.
  4. Stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than natural sugar.
  5. By 2050, demand for stevia could displace 25 percent of global demand for sugar.
  6. Research suggests that stevia may hold promise as a treatment for hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
  7. While it requires ample sun exposure, the stevia plant is adaptable and can thrive in the ground or in pots in a variety of regions.
  8. Japan produced the first commercial stevia sweetener in 1971.
  9. Stevia was not FDA approved for use as a sweetener in the US until 2008.
  10. Between 2008 and 2012, there was a 400 percent global increase in new stevia-based products.

Stevia One Perú SAC includes three farms covering 1,853 acres of land (750 hectares). As part of the Rainforest Alliance certification process, the farm group worked to restore the land through reforestation and improved soil health by investing in irrigation and an organic fertilizer system. The farm also ensures the welfare of its 520 permanent workers, and provides salary and wages above the national average.

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