PureCircle has announced an exclusive global strategic collaboration with Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned fragrance and flavor company, to accelerate the commercialization of Rebaudioside A (Reb A), the first all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener, in the global food and beverage industry.

PureCircle, is the world’s largest supplier of high-purity Reb A, which can be used as a key ingredient in mainstream food and beverages. Last month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration granted GRAS status to Reb A for use in beverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners. Food and drink manufacturers in the United States are already using high-purity Reb A as a sweetener ingredient.

Firmenich has developed innovative flavor systems for Reb A, which will be rolled out across food and beverage applications. Under the terms of the collaboration, Firmenich and PureCircle will combine to offer natural flavor and sweetening solutions to category leaders in the global food and beverage market.

“Health and wellness is at the top of our customers’ innovation agenda as they increasingly respond to consumer demand for healthier food and beverage products. The all-natural and calorie-free sweetener, Reb A, is seen as providing that solution,” said Magomet Malsagov, chief executive officer of PureCircle. “Combining Firmenich’s world-class flavor ability and global reach, with the groundbreaking low calorie, natural sweetening that Reb A provides, is a major event in the food and beverage industry. Calorie reduction is a major development platform in all key application areas.”

Firmenich CEO Patrick Firmenich added: “Reducing sugar in food and beverage products, while maintaining consumer preference, is one of the biggest challenges in our business today. By combining PureCircle’s know-how in Reb A with Firmenich’s expertise in sweetness enhancement and flavor masking, I believe that we can fulfill consumer desires for great tasting, low sugar, low calorie foods and beverages.” 

High-purity Reb A is the world’s first all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant. For more on Reb A, visit www.Reb-A.com.

PureCircle is the world’s leading producer of high-purity Reb A, with a vertically integrated supply chain operating in three continents. PureCircle markets a range of natural sweeteners internationally. Activities range from the sourcing of dry stevia leaves and extraction, refining of high-purity Reb A into sweeteners and marketing of these sweeteners to food and beverage manufacturers worldwide.

PureCircle’s extraction plant can produce 1000 metric tons of stevia extract annually, which is currently the world’s largest extraction facility. This is set to increase to 4,000 metric tons in March 2009. The company has built the world’s largest state-of-the-art refining plant in Malaysia. This currently produces 1,000 metric tons of high-purity Reb A and work has started to double this capacity to 2,000 metric tons. The company’s production facilities operate in compliance with cGMP, HACCP and ISO standards.

During 2008, PureCircle announced contract extensions with Cargill and major new contracts with PepsiCo and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. for the supply of high-purity Reb A in beverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners worldwide including the exclusive license to market PureVia Reb A as an ingredient (PureVia is a trademark of PepsiCo Inc. and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. LLC). See www.purevia.com.

PureCircle’s investment in research and development has given it a leadership position in the manufacture of high-purity Reb A, and their scientists are globally recognized experts in their field. The company works with independent farmers in Thailand, China, Paraguay, Laos and Kenya to grow the best quality stevia leaf. PureCircle works closely with communities in each of these countries and endeavors to maximize the social, economic and environmental benefits of its operations.

PureCircle’s corporate offices are located in New Jersey; Asuncion, Paraguay; Geneva, Switzerland; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Ganzhou, China; and Kericho, Kenya. For more information on PureCircle visit: www.purecircle.com

Firmenich is the world’s largest privately owned company (No.2 worldwide) in the flavor and fragrance business. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895, it has created many of the world’s best-known flavors and perfumes that we enjoy each day. Each year, it invests around 10% of its turnover in R&D, reflecting its continuous desire to understand, share and sublimate the best of nature’s offering. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 2.8 billion Swiss Francs at end June 2008.

For more information, visit: www.firmenich.com.