HOWTIAN Achieves Breakthrough in Environmental Sustainability with Stevia Life Cycle Assessment

HOWTIAN Achieves Breakthrough in Environmental Sustainability with Stevia Life Cycle Assessment

February 12, 2024 – In a significant milestone for its ongoing commitment to sustainability, HOWTIAN has completed a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment of its key stevia product lines. The study was conducted by the renowned Switzerland-based Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, and examined key measures of environmental impact including carbon and water footprint. By achieving results that are vastly superior than the performance of conventional sugar, the assessment demonstrates HOWTIAN’s commitment to be a leader of environmental sustainability among manufacturers of natural sweeteners.

In response to consumer demand in recent years, the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector has made significant strides in adopting more stringent standards of sustainability, with impacts felt especially in the selection and sourcing process of ingredients for food & beverage products. Recognizing this trend, ingredient manufacturers – with the stevia sector being no exception – have been proactive in assessing their products’ environmental impact.

Tom Fuzer, VP of Market Strategy at HOWTIAN, states, “With the CO2 footprint of stevia typically less than a quarter than that of sugar, stevia producers have eager to raise industry awareness that the popular plant-based sweetener is one of the most environmentally friendly solutions available.” To further advance these efforts for the industry, HOWTIAN undertook an extensive Life Cycle Assessment of its high purity Rebaudioside A 97 stevia — one of the most prevalent forms of extract sold by stevia producers.

The assessment revealed that HOWTIAN’s high purity Reb A outperforms traditional sugar in sustainability metrics while helping to establish and progress industry standards for key environmental performance indicators. For the basis of its analysis, SGS determined what the environmental footprint would be from producing and processing HOWTIAN’s Reb A 97 in order to generate the equivalent sweetness of 1 metric ton of white sugar. When these results were compared to like-for-like metrics for cane sugar, the study found that HOWTIAN achieved:

  • 78% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to cane sugar
  • 77% reduction in water usage
  • 94% reduction in agricultural land usage

“We are delighted with the outstanding results of our sustainability efforts. They are a testament to the success of our dedicated Sustainability Program, a program we started in 2017 to develop high-yielding plant variants and invest in energy and water-efficient extraction technologies. This only further strengthens our ambition to set and continuously improve the marketplace standard in sustainability for stevia and the broader sweetener industry.”

Tom fuzer, vp of market strategy

This historic achievement aligns with HOWTIAN’s global efforts to reduce environmental impact and showcases the company’s role in helping to lead these initiatives for food and beverage manufacturers everywhere.

Global Sugar Taxes: Tipping the Scales Towards Healthier Choices

Global Sugar Taxes: Tipping the Scales Towards Healthier Choices

News out of Colombia is shedding light on a sugar-reduction movement already in motion

The global landscape of food consumption is undergoing a significant shift with the introduction of sugar taxes in over 120 countries. These initiatives are primarily aimed at guiding consumers towards healthier lifestyle choices by reducing the intake of sugar-laden foods and beverages. Countries like Colombia and the United States have championed these taxes, which not only raise public awareness about sugar content but also contribute to improving public health.

Colombia’s Bold Step

In a recent development, the Colombian government announced the implementation of a 10% tax on sugary drinks and junk foods, effective November 1st, 2023. This tax will escalate to 15% in 2024 and 20% in 2025. The tax applies to products like: carbonated drinks, malt drinks, tea, coffee, fruit juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, and food items containing sodium, including sausages, candies, chocolate, pasta, cereals, bakery products, and sauces. The tax amount varies based on ingredient content, with different levels corresponding to different tax standards.

United States’ Sugar Tax Trend

Around 30 states in the United States have enacted laws to tax sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Berkeley, California, was the first city to impose such a tax in 2015, followed by several others, including San Francisco, Oakland, Colorado, Seattle, and Philadelphia.

Studies have shown that these taxes effectively reduce SSB consumption. Further research from the University of Illinois Chicago suggests that Seattle’s SSB tax, implemented in 2018, has successfully reduced sales from sugar-taxed beverages by 23%, highlighting the sustainability of such policies​​.

According to a Nielsen data comparison on the sugar tax in Philadelphia, a study reported:

“There is a significant dose–response relationship between the size of the tax and the amount of impact. A broad-based tax of 1 cent per ounce or more is associated with greater degrees of purchasing reduction in the beverage categories targeted by public health advocates, i.e., soft drinks and fruit drinks, while at the same time incentivizing the purchase of bottled water as a substitute.”

The study also found that the tax had few income-related effects detected – thus, validating that sugar taxes reduce the sugar consumption of the American people as a whole, rather than just those unable to afford the increased prices.

Beverage Industry’s Response

In anticipation of sugar taxes, beverage companies worldwide have been reformulating their products to reduce sugar content. This shift towards “sugar reduction” and “sugar-free” options is driven by the consensus that reducing sugar intake is synonymous with health — in addition to following the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that added sugar be less than 10% of daily total caloric intake, and additional health benefits may be attained if further reduced to 5%.

Natural Sweeteners’ Role

In the quest to reduce sugar, natural sweeteners and sugar substitutes have gained popularity. Coca-Cola, for example, launched its first beverage entirely sweetened with stevia in 2018. However, overcoming the inherent “post-bitterness” of stevia remains a challenge for manufacturers.

In addition, cost is a concern often raised when considering natural sweeteners. Despite the steadily improving and sometimes more favorable costs compared to sugar, natural sweeteners may be mistakenly perceived as an expensive, out-of-reach luxury.

Stevia Leading the Charge

Amidst the diverse market of natural sweeteners and sugar substitutes, stevia has emerged as a frontrunner in the movement towards healthier sweetening options. Other natural sweeteners like monk fruit extract and allulose have their share of the market as well, but stevia stands out in popularity due to its natural origin and perceived health benefits. Derived from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant, stevia offers a zero-calorie sweetness that is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. As such, it has been gaining traction among consumers seeking healthier lifestyles and among manufacturers looking for clean label ingredients.

Innovative companies have been pivotal in advancing stevia’s usage by overcoming challenges such as taste optimization and costs. For example, HOWTIAN has significantly improved the glycoside yield from natural stevia varieties, enhancing production processes and ensuring a stable supply of commercial stevia – all measures that have significantly reduced the cost of popular stevia extracts like Reb A over the years.

Its recent launch of the SoPure™ Galaxy line, a proprietary sweetener blend optimized for dairy products, exemplifies the industry’s commitment to creating cost-effective, high-quality, and tasteful sugar reduction solutions. This product line promises zero calories, no additives, high solubility, and a clean label, providing a taste experience as well as cost comparable to traditional sweeteners yet aligning with the global shift towards healthier and more sustainable diets.

Naturally Sweet Future Ahead

In the shifting landscape of global health awareness, sugar taxes have become a prevalent tool for policy makers around the world aiming to curb sugar consumption and encourage healthier choices. Their existence is not just widespread, but intensifying, signaling a clear direction towards greater ubiquity and stricter regulations.

This trend represents a profound alignment with evolving consumer demands and preferences. Today’s consumers are more informed and health-conscious, seeking products that offer both taste and nutritional benefit. By proactively embracing sugar alternatives and reformulation, companies are not just adhering to regulations but are also positioning themselves at the forefront of a consumer-driven shift.

For those who act swiftly and effectively in implementing sugar reduction initiatives, the future is indeed sweet. More forward-thinking manufacturers will be able to navigate the emerging landscape of health regulations while also appealing to shifting consumer tastes and purchase behaviors.

With sugar taxes here to stay, a successful approach to addressing such regulation isn’t so much about playing defense as it is about embracing this sweet revolution, and thriving in a future where health and taste go hand in hand.

[1] Colombia passes ambitious ‘junk food law’ to tackle lifestyle diseases (2023) The Guardian.
[2] Debras, C., Chazelas, E., Srour, B., Druesne-Pecollo, N., Esseddik, Y., Edelenyi, F. S. de, Agaësse, C., Sa, A. D., Lutchia, R., Gigandet, S., Huybrechts, I., Julia, C., Kesse-Guyot, E., Allès, B., Andreeva, V. A., Galan, P., Hercberg, S., Deschasaux-Tanguy, M., & Touvier, M. (n.d.). Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study. PLOS Medicine.
[3] World Health Organization. (n.d.-a). Aspartame hazard and risk assessment results released. World Health Organization.

Join HOWTIAN at SupplySide West

Where Health & Nutrition Meets Food & Beverage Innovators

The HOWTIAN team is heading to Las Vegas, where in just one month, SupplySide West and Food Ingredients North America will be held together for a massive gathering of the top companies from the health & nutrition as well as food & beverage industries.

As we do every year, the HOWTIAN team will be all geared up to showcase our innovations in nutritional ingredient and sugar reduction solutions.

But this year will be an especially exciting #SSWExpo #FiNA, as we’ll be debuting two new functional ingredients — Glucuronolactone and D-Chiro-Inositol!

In past showcases, we’ve hosted tasting experiences of a wide variety of product demos such as cake pops, nougat candies, naturally sweetened beverages and more. Be sure to stop by HOWTIAN’s booth, 7111, and see what we’re cooking up next.

Where: Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV

When: 25-26 October 2023

Booth: 7111

If you’d like to schedule a meeting in advance at SupplySide West, contact us here!

HOWTIAN Interview in Baking & Snack: The Rise of Natural Sweeteners

HOWTIAN Interview in Baking & Snack: The Rise of Natural Sweeteners

August 18, 2023 — In the newest issue of their magazine, the Baking & Snack editors interviewed HOWTIAN for insights and expertise on the rise of natural sweeteners in baked goods. Titled “A Natural Fit: Bakers Win Over Increasingly Health-Conscious Consumers With Natural Sweeteners,” the article looks at consumer demand for natural alternatives to sugar — and more so, the stigma that surrounds “artificial sugar substitutes” like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin.

In the article, our technical experts Hank Wang and Michelle Yin talk about all the different ways that natural sweeteners are taking off for baking, from the declining reputation of artificial sweeteners to our convenient “drop-in” sugar replacement solutions for baking. In working with a vast variety of baked goods manufacturing customers, it’s evident that the adoption of solutions like stevia for sugar reduction and reformulation is here to stay.

“Those who have engaged in sugar reduction efforts earlier than others recognize this not just as a shift in consumer tastes, but as an emerging business and marketplace opportunity,” stated Yin.

Leveraging our experience and track record of success, HOWTIAN provided insight on expert formulation techniques with stevia in the baking sector to combat challenges like early-onset sweetness, bulking and moisture retention.

“For example, stevia has a more delayed onset of sweetness compared to sugar, so you may consider complementing it with an alternative like allulose or erythritol which exhibits an earlier onset of sweetness,” Wang noted.

To read the full story in Baking & Snack‘s August issue, click here.

If you’re in need of a partner and solutions for reformulating baked good products and applications, HOWTIAN experts are available to help meet your challenges. We can assist in developing a customized strategy for your product(s) with cost-effective solutions and sustainable supply. Please contact us to learn more.

HOWTIAN Interview in FoodNavigator and ConfectioneryNews: Hail Stevia!

HOWTIAN Interview in FoodNavigator and ConfectioneryNews: Hail Stevia!

July 31, 2023 — HOWTIAN recently interviewed with the editors of FoodNavigator and ConfectioneryNews for their new “Sugar Reduction Special” series. The cross-outlet story from the sister publications is titled “Hail Stevia! The natural sweetener could be the perfect solution to ‘Sugarflation’ as well as a healthier option.” The article goes in depth on how stevia, at a time when global sugar prices are rapidly on the rise, is becoming a cost-effective solution for food & beverage manufacturers, in addition to its natural sugar reduction benefits.

The editors spoke with Technical Director Hank Wang about HOWTIAN’s recent announcement of a significant price-reduction for its popular SoPure™ Stevia Reb A 97.

“Prices for Reb A have come down this year. Higher sugar prices along with lower stevia prices is a great enticement for CPG’s to partially replace sugar with Reb A. For example in many beverages, it is fairly easy to replace about 50% of sugar with Reb A and save a significant amount of the sugar spend without affecting quality.”

Wang’s formulation expertise on stevia and other natural sweeteners for confectionery applications is also featured throughout the article.

With soaring sugar costs remaining top of mind for many in the industry, the article was sure to gain interest and quickly made its way to the “front page” of both publications’ digital platforms. This included the lead homepage story for ConfectioneryNews in addition to topping the ranks of the “Most Popular” stories for FoodNavigator.

To read the full story at ConfectioneryNews, visit here. Or to see the article at FoodNavigator, click here.

HOWTIAN at Fi South America 2023 in São Paulo

HOWTIAN at Fi South America 2023 in São Paulo

HOWTIAN will be joining the festivities for this year’s Food Ingredients South America (FISA), one of the largest gatherings of food, beverage and nutraceutical ingredients companies in the Latin America market. With over 27 years of events, FiSA offers a place for food ingredient suppliers to showcase innovative solutions for food manufacturers looking to appeal to an increasingly health-conscious consumer base.

A few highlights for this year’s upcoming event:

  • 10,000+ visitors
  • 100+ delegates
  • 700+ brands
  • 52 countries

Please make sure you visit us by Booth D75 to see the HOWTIAN exhibit, including demos and applications of our products in the fields of natural sugar reduction and functional nutrition. On special display will be the launch of our new SoPure™ Galaxy-Series, a next-generation stevia product that is designed and optimized for dairy applications.

Dates: 8-10 August 2023

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Booth: D75

We’re looking forward to seeing you in São Paulo, Brazil!

HOWTIAN Introduces SoPure™ Galaxy – The Next-Generation Stevia for Dairy Applications

HOWTIAN Introduces SoPure™ Galaxy – The Next-Generation Stevia for Dairy Applications

July 6, 2023 – HOWTIAN reaffirms its commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions that meet evolving consumer preferences, elevate taste experiences, and contribute to the development of healthier products with a next-generation stevia product set to transform sugar reduction in the dairy sector.

HOWTIAN, the world’s #1 manufacturer of natural stevia, is proud to unveil its SoPure™ Galaxy-Series, a groundbreaking stevia product range specifically formulated to enhance dairy applications and meet growing consumer demand for healthier and more natural dairy products.

According to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN, the global dairy market boasts an extensive consumer base, with over 6 billion of the world’s population consuming dairy products on a daily basis. As consumer preferences shift towards healthier options — with “naturalness” as the #1 claim consumers expect in their dairy products according to a 2023 Innova Market Insights Survey — the reduction of sugar in dairy products has become a significant focus for the industry.

In response to this demand, dairy product manufacturers worldwide have been developing reduced-sugar yogurts, milky beverages, and other products to cater to evolving, health-conscious consumers — with “no added sugar,” “sugar-free,” and “low sugar” claims accounting for 10-11% of all dairy innovations.

As a result, more than one third of dairy products globally have chosen to use stevia over the past 5 years. Stevia has emerged as an ideal sugar substitute for dairy products due to its plant-based origin and associated health benefits.

Not all stevia is created equally, however. HOWTIAN witnessed the early challenges when adopting this natural solution for the dairy industry; after all, not all stevia varieties deliver optimal results in every application. To address these challenges, HOWTIAN’s Innovation and Science Centre, in collaboration with our dairy-industry experts and partners, embarked on a mission to develop an affordable and adaptable stevia product line specifically tailored for dairy applications.

We are proud to announce the launch of our new SoPure™ Galaxy-Series. Its namesake “Galaxy” derives from the Greek word for “Milky Way” and reflects the company’s ambition to lead dairy manufacturers into the future of natural sugar alternatives.

“The SoPure™ Galaxy-Series products offer an exceptional sensory profile in dairy, closely resembling the sweetness of full-sugar benchmarks, while also reducing development time and delivering up to 45% cost savings on the sweetener compound.”

Tom Fuzer, VP of Market Strategy at HOWTIAN

For manufacturers of dairy products the SoPure™ Galaxy-Series delivers:

  • Virtually identical sweetness profile to full sugar in yogurts
  • Enhanced milky notes & prolonged fruity flavors
  • Rich, creamy mouthfeel when combined with bulking agents
  • Clean label with zero calories

The SoPure™ Galaxy-Series has superior sensorial performance compared to high purity Reb A — at less than half the cost of Reb M — which is attributed to its incredible and consistent solubility. We look forward to partnering with the industry across all global markets, and to what we believe will be SoPure Galaxy’s transformative impact on sugar reduction for dairy products.

HOWTIAN Setting Up in Chicago for IFT FIRST

HOWTIAN Setting Up in Chicago for IFT FIRST

From July 17-19, the HOWTIAN team will be in full force at the IFT FIRST Annual Event & Expo in Chicago.

What is IFT FIRST?

FIRST: Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology. Your experience at the IFT expo will be one of exploration, as you discover the latest industry trends, cutting-edge innovations and carefully-crafted solutions from the leading experts in the food & beverage field.

Event Details

Date: July 17-19, 2023

Location: McCormick Place, Chicago

Booth No. S3853

On Exhibit

For our showcase at IFT FIRST, HOWTIAN is excited to present our sugar reduction solutions with our popular line of SoPure™ Stevia products. In addition, we’ll be sharing our newest innovations with inositol and PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone).

At the event, attendees will get a taste of all that HOWTIAN has to offer, including our 50% sugar-reduced Hawaiian Shaved Ice with 10 different flavors to choose from! You’ll also sample some of our crowd-favorites from past events, including the DSG Red Velvet Cake Pops and our no-sugar-added Candy Nougats. Then, to quench your thirst, you can finish off your indulgent but guilt-free tasting experience with our sugar-free Grape Juice that features our PQQ, inositol, Andromeda, allulose and erythritol.

As always, if you can’t make it to Chicago this time, a HOWTIAN representative is ready to take your call and start your free consultation today. Contact us our formulation experts to learn more.

When Sugar Reduction Also Means Cost Reduction

When Sugar Reduction Also Means Cost Reduction

How current market volatility and rising sugar prices are boosting stevia as a solution not just for sugar reduction targets, but cost savings too

Rapidly rising sugar prices, consumer demand for natural alternatives, and never-ending supply chain woes… the list goes on.

In short, the food & beverage industry is exploring more-natural, less-sugary pastures for its consumers — leading to a sugar-replacement revolution.

Bloomberg reports:

  • Sugar prices are at a six-year high, and not expected to improve
  • The global sugar supply & demand gap is widening, reducing the stock-to-use ratio
  • India, Pakistan & others introduced sugar export restrictions

Moreover, high oil prices have led to competition for the output from the sugar sector, as economies are likely to use more cane sugar toward producing ethanol — further reducing the sugar supply.

Food and beverage manufacturers worldwide are feeling the squeeze in production costs, which contribute to the inflationary pressures on consumers.

Bottom line: Manufacturers are seeking cost-friendly alternatives. Consumers are seeking natural, low-sugar solutions. Research and development teams across all industries are actively searching for new solutions to meet these demands, all the while still maintaining the integrity of their products’ taste.

In these challenging times, stevia, a popular natural sugar alternative, has emerged as a promising solution.

Thanks to decades of agricultural science advancements and improvements in steviol glycoside yield levels, the global supply of stevia is healthy and cost-effective. Contrary to some reports of an industry shortage, the overall supply of stevia is at its lowest price point since it arrived on the global stage over a decade ago.

To help address this time of economic uncertainty and volatility, HOWTIAN is pleased to announce some welcome news for the industry and our manufacturing customers. Effective immediately, we are implementing another significant price reduction for SoPure™ Stevia Reb A 97, our most popular stevia product.

HOWTIAN’s industry-high yield has been instrumental in this rapid progress toward reducing product costs. Additionally, our commitment to sustainability provides further compelling reason for manufacturers to choose our stevia, as our newest stevia variants require less land, water and energy to produce.

HOWTIAN’s commitment to innovation and our customers’ needs will undoubtedly contribute to the continued growth and success of the sugar replacement revolution in these turbulent times. Throughout the years, the company has seen a wealth of success in transitioning popular products to delicious, cost-effective alternatives. The new and improved pricing will only accelerate the pace of these sugar reduction success stories.

To illustrate the reduced pricing in action, below is an example of a formulation for a ready-to-drink beverage application, and the 37 to 40 percent cost savings yielded with different sugar reduction scenarios.

IngredientsFull Sugar50% Reduced Sugar (+RA97)50% Reduced Sugar Improved Taste (+Andromeda)
Dosage (g)Dosage (g)Dosage (g)
Unsweetened Lemonade Powder0.370.370.37
SoPure™ Stevia – Reb A 970.02
SoPure™ Stevia – Andromeda0.018
Total (g)100100100
Cost Savings (%)40.48%37.14%
Note: Sugar cost is estimated and may be different in various countries.

Contact Us

HOWTIAN welcomes the world’s increasing demand for sugar alternatives and offers a wide range of readily adaptable solutions for a comprehensive variety of applications.

To learn more, please get in touch with one of our representatives.

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.