Sweegen’s Reb M gets safety nod in Europe

Will Kreznick

California-based Sweegen is strengthening its footprint in Europe after the ‘monumental’ news that the European Commission has approved its Signature Bestevia Reb M ingredient for use in food and beverages in the region. Reb M is one of many steviol glycosides found in the leaves of the Stevia plant. It […]

California-based Sweegen is strengthening its footprint in Europe after the ‘monumental’ news that the European Commission has approved its Signature Bestevia Reb M ingredient for use in food and beverages in the region.

Reb M is one of many steviol glycosides found in the leaves of the Stevia plant. It offers a sweet taste close to that of sugar and is free of the aftertaste associated with Reb-A, a stevia-based sweetener commonly used in F&B formulation. The problem with Reb M is that it is found in relatively small amounts in the stevia plant – meaning standard plant extraction is too expensive and maximum global output of Reb M is limited.

Sweegen uses a bioconversion process starting with the stevia leaf. The proprietary enzymatic process increases Bestevia Reb M’s production prior to isolation and purification of the sweet molecules, which are ‘substantially the same as those found in nature’. In the US, Sweegen obtained Non-GMO Project verification for its Signature Bestevia stevia sweeteners.

Sweegen is the first company to receive the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel’s safety approval for any steviol glycoside produced by alternative and sustainable technologies, the company claimed.

Supporting innovation and reformulation

The approval of Sweegen’s Reb M ingredient broadens the toolkit available to product developers seeking sugar alternatives in the region. 

Luca Giannone, Sweegen’s SVP of sales, believes that the arrival of Bestevia will have a significant impact on Europe’s innovation and reformulation landscape.

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