Recently 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.
- There are nearly 300 plants in the stevia genus, but the stevia rebaudiana plant is the only one with incredibly sweet properties.
- Stevia grows wild in Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and a number of other South American countries.
- There are indications that Stevia has been used to sweeten a native beverage called mate since Pre-Columbian times. However, a Natural Scientist names Antonio Bertoni first recorded its usage by native tribes in 1887.
- Stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than natural sugar.
- By 2050, demand for stevia could displace 25 percent of global demand for sugar.
- Research suggests that stevia may hold promise as a treatment for hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
- 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.
- Japan produced the first commercial stevia sugar alternative in 1971.
- Stevia was not approved for use as a sweetener in Australia until 2008.
- Between 2008 and 2012, there was a 400 percent global increase in new stevia-based products.
- The main advantage of stevia over sugar is its tiny kilojoule load. Compared with sugar’s 80kJ per teaspoon (5g), stevia-based sweetener Natvia is 4kJ.
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 fertiliser system. The farm also ensures the welfare of its 520 permanent workers, and provides salary and wages above the national average.