HOWTIAN Interview in Food Ingredients First: Stevia Supply Chains

HOWTIAN Interview in Food Ingredients First: Stevia Supply Chains

May 3, 2023 — Food Ingredients First editors invited HOWTIAN to be part of a recent discussion about the supply chain issues impacting the stevia industry, and the ways that HOWTIAN is solving for those challenges.

In 2022, widespread drought throughout China — where a large percentage of the world’s stevia is produced — set to disrupt the stevia production and supply chain of the coveted crop. However, thanks to new production technologies, marketplace demand was met by HOWTIAN and others in the industry, and the stevia supply chain remained strong.

Stevia Business Unit Director Mavis Ran shed light on this surprising discovery for Food Ingredients First; caveating that HOWTIAN was “no exception” to recent climate and supply chain challenges. She commented:

“These challenges are driven by several factors, starting from macro issues like climate change, down to those more specific to stevia — such as the natural inconsistency of the key sweet components in stevia leaves.”

In an effort to combat these natural challenges, HOWTIAN mitigates risk through R&D investments, diversification of plantation regions and increasing steviol glycoside content in new leaf varieties that are better suited for a diversity of climate conditions.

“In 2022, a critical milestone for stevia was reached when we saw the industry’s highest ever Reb A yield of 12% from our newest leaf variety. This was welcome news for F&B manufacturers worldwide as stevia was more affordable and accessible than ever,” shares Ran.

Still, there are man-made factors that cause industry-wide issues like the rising cost of energy, inflation and labor costs. But again, HOWTIAN is confident in the reliability and availability of its stevia supply, rooted in the fact that its stevia is produced and grown by natural, sustainable methods. In fact, our proprietary clean extraction technology saves 60% in water consumption along with significant energy savings.

“Unlike ingredients that depend on chemical processing which can be affected by multiple cost impactors, natural stevia relies only on limited processing with fewer auxiliary materials,” Ran comments.

HOWTIAN’s long-term optimization efforts date back to before recent industry challenges. Our method and mission to produce a reliable supply of better-tasting stevia in a sustainable manner allows us to remain a leader in stevia production, even in the face of economic and natural challenges.

We’d like to thank Food Ingredients First for the opportunity to share our perspectives. You can read the full article here.

HOWTIAN Interview in Food Business News: The Outlook for Sugar Reduction

HOWTIAN Interview in Food Business News: The Outlook for Sugar Reduction

December 12, 2022 — Food Business News invited HOWTIAN to impart our perspective on the future of sugar reduction, and how sweetener blends provide food manufacturers a versatile toolset to achieve their formulation and reformulation goals. Our conversation with the FBN team was selected and featured in the latest issue of the magazine as its lead cover story, “Blending Sweeteners Brightens Sugar Reduction Outlook.”

As one of our leading experts in formulation, Technical Director Hank Wang discusses the unique ways product developers are successfully blending stevia, monk fruit, allulose and erythritol. The key is to understand how these natural sweeteners best complement each other, and why the different onsets of sweetness for each will help you replicate the taste profile of sugar.

In the interview, we talk about our proprietary stevia blends, DGS Sweet E100 and DGS Sweet F100 Baking, that are 1:1 replacements for sugar. Although the two blends are similar, F100 is better suited for achieving the desired consistency of a traditional baked good:

“Raw dough or batter made with F100 will be slightly stickier and softer, but it holds well with other binding agents. Binding agents help hold all the ingredients in a formulation together so it is not too crumbly, playing a big role in contributing to the texture you know and expect in a baked good.”

Thank you to Food Business News for giving us the opportunity to weigh in on where sugar reduction is evolving for the industry. You can read the full article here. Or if you’d like more insights on how to leverage HOWTIAN’s proprietary stevia blends for your product and application needs, reach out and connect with one of our formulation experts.

HOWTIAN Interview in Asia Pacific Food Industry Magazine: The Demand for Sugar Alternatives

HOWTIAN Interview in Asia Pacific Food Industry Magazine: The Demand for Sugar Alternatives

November 28, 2022 — In a full-length dedicated interview with Asia Pacific Food Industry Magazine, VP of Market Strategy Tom Fuzer was asked to give HOWTIAN’s perspective on the marketplace for sugar alternatives, what’s driving the continued rise of diabetes globally, and shifting consumer preferences around “clean labels.”

“In addition to a clean label, today’s consumers are also scrutinising product manufacturers’ supply chains and sourcing practices to understand the environmental footprints of the products they purchase… As the world’s largest manufacturer of natural stevia, HOWTIAN has just recently completed a key agricultural science project that delivered the highest ever steviol glycoside (the sweet component of the stevia leaf) yield per hectare, thus further improving its already favourable environmental measures.”

November/December 2022 Issue of Asia Pacific Food Industry Magazine

For the story, HOWTIAN also addresses current economic challenges as inflation spirals and consumers are becoming more and more cost-conscious. With companies increasingly tasked to find more affordable sugar alternatives, HOWTIAN continues to improve its manufacturing output, and in turn, product costs — where the cost-in-use of our stevia is starting to reach parity with that of artificial sweeteners.

We are grateful for the opportunity to share our expertise and understanding of the challenges food & beverage companies face in this shift towards natural sweeteners. Thanks to the APFI team!

You can read the full article here.

Interview with New Food Magazine: HOWTIAN claims highest Reb A yield in industry history

Interview with New Food Magazine: HOWTIAN claims highest Reb A yield in industry history

October 27, 2022 — HOWTIAN was recently invited to provide an insider perspective on its announcement of achieving a record-breaking 12% Reb A yield. VP of Market Strategy Tom Fuzer goes more in depth on the significance of the milestone and the company’s vision for the future of sugar reduction in a feature piece with New Food Magazine.

The article highlights Project Shennong, a decade-long endeavor built on HOWTIAN’s ambition of a healthier lifestyle for all, regardless of economic means. The work of Project Shennong has resulted in significant strides for the food and beverage industry, and this latest achievement has brought the cost of stevia closer to parity with artificial sweeteners than ever before, all without compromising the natural core of stevia.

In the conversation, Fuzer explains that the cost of stevia is always top of mind for product developers and formulators in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, especially when compared to the cost of artificial sugar substitutes like aspartame. In light of this, some suppliers have pursued alternative methods of manufacturing stevia, including fermentation technologies.

While some of these methods may manufacture sweeteners that may be chemically the same as stevia, Fuzer points out…

“It no longer delivers what consumers actually prefer stevia for – its naturalness. Project Shennong proves that by investing in breeding technologies and developing stevia variants with exceptionally high Reb A content, you can still achieve cost targets without sacrificing what stevia is all about.”

The interview continues to discuss how demand for all-natural stevia is on the rise as consumers seek out products with “clean labels.” Fittingly, this new milestone is but the latest sign of HOWTIAN’s commitment to clean, sustainable sugar reduction with simple, natural ingredients.

HOWTIAN is proud to be at the forefront of the industry, and we thank New Food Magazine for the platform to share this exciting news.

Read the full article here.

HOWTIAN featured as the lead story on the homepage of New Food Magazine

HOWTIAN has succeeded in harvesting the stevia industry’s highest ever Reb A yield

HOWTIAN has succeeded in harvesting the stevia industry’s highest ever Reb A yield

September 26, 2022 — Thanks to a dedicated team and decade-long commitment to intense agricultural science and research, HOWTIAN is proud to officially announce a critical milestone in their endeavour to create natural, accessible food & nutrition products for the masses.

HOWTIAN has achieved up to 12% average Reb A yield this season – the highest ever in the industry and a significant turning point as stevia costs approach parity with artificial sweeteners.

Natural solutions for everyone — this is more than an ideal, but rather a commitment the founder of HOWTIAN, Zhu Liping, made at the company’s start in 1999. Through his travels and remote explorations, he understood nature as the answer for everything and believed its benefits shouldn’t be limited to those with greater means. This philosophy remains intact decades later. In fact, it was the driving force behind the founding of HOWTIAN’s stevia ventures in 2009 and the drive for Project Shennong.

Project Shennong was inspired by the mythological Chinese ruler, Shennong Shi. Known as the “Divine Farmer” and celebrated as the father of Chinese Medicine, the ancient ruler taught his people new agricultural practices, herbal drug remedies, and the importance of living a healthier life.

Project Shennong began at a time when different steviol glycoside (the sweet component of stevia) processing technologies were emerging worldwide. In this growth period however, HOWTIAN saw many divert from the natural-leaf extraction technology and start to compromise the naturalness of their manufactured stevia for cost savings.

Over the past 10 years, HOWTIAN chose a different path in launching Project Shennong. They decided to set themselves apart and offer solutions that keep natural principles at the forefront, while also achieving an affordable cost by:

  • Investing in R&D to develop higher steviol glycoside yielding plant varieties
  • Testing and scaling them for mass production

“Ten years ago, the average Reb A yield of the stevia plant was about 4.0% and has increased to about 7.0% over the years. We are delighted to announce that this season, we have achieved a minimum of 9.5% Reb A yield, with some plants as high as 12% average yield, which is the highest ever seen in the stevia industry,” says Tom Fuzer, VP of Market Strategy at HOWTIAN.

This accomplishment is groundbreaking for food and beverage manufacturers who were unable to justify the more expensive price tag of stevia – historically 6 to 15 times the cost of artificial sweeteners. Thanks to Project Shennong and HOWTIAN’s newest stevia variants, the cost in use of stevia is quickly approaching parity with traditional artificial sugar substitutes.

“Companies once compelled by cost constraints to choose artificial sweeteners now no longer need to compromise. We anticipate the adoption of stevia to accelerate significantly in the most price sensitive markets, including beverages, snacking and sports nutrition,” notes Fuzer.

With production capacity of 8,000 metric tons, HOWTIAN is the largest stevia manufacturer in the world.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of the industry and to lead the innovations that’ll drive mass market adoption of natural ingredient solutions like stevia,” adds Fuzer.

HOWTIAN Interview in ConfectioneryNews: How Natural Sweeteners Became a Gamechanger

HOWTIAN Interview in ConfectioneryNews: How Natural Sweeteners Became a Gamechanger

September 15, 2022 — VP of Market Strategy Tom Fuzer was recently asked to provide the HOWTIAN perspective on the meteoric rise of natural sweeteners like stevia in an in-depth interview with ConfectioneryNews.

In the conversation, he explains that food and beverage products with sugar-reduction claims have increased by 13.5% over the past five years — and leading that charge are plant-derived ingredients, thanks to rising consumer demand for clean, natural sugar alternatives.

The article speaks not only to the growing market for natural sugar substitutes, but also the evolution of their taste and incorporation into food and beverage products. This of course includes the confectionery category, and we shared some insights on how to best formulate with stevia for candys and confections.

There are a variety of methods for successfully replacing sugar in confections and replicating its properties beyond sweetness, says Tom Fuzer, VP of Market Strategy at HOWTIAN, the world’s largest manufacturer of natural stevia leaf extracts. “One we’ve found particularly essential is the use of a bulking agent to supplement natural sweeteners and maintain the size of the candy. Natural bulking agents, such as erythritol, allulose, and soluble fiber are also often needed to provide a similar mouthfeel or chew.

The interview also addresses how the industry continues to face challenges with “outdated” perceptions of stevia as a bitter-tasting sugar substitute. It was a good opportunity to speak to the innovations stevia has seen over the years as more and more better-tasting glycosides, such as Reb D and Reb M, are commercialized. In fact, HOWTIAN’s own SoPure™ Stevia is well-reputed by our customers to be one of the most consistent-tasting stevia brands from batch to batch. This is all thanks to company’s vertically integrated manufacturing process and centrally managed production of raw stevia extract.

Read the full article here.