Dec 01

One healthy plant (Stevia) in there does not make ‘junk’ healthy. Stevia is not allowed in foodstuffs and remedies in the EU. I think this is because of the sugar industry in Europe.

Men harvest the stevia plant in Ybycubua, Paraguay, on Sept. 9, 2008. Photographer: Carlos Bittar/Bloomberg News

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) — A leaf the Guarani Indians of Paraguay’s jungles used to sweeten drinks for centuries may help Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. revive flagging sales in the $320 billion-a-year global soft-drink industry.

The Food and Drug Administration is poised to act on allowing a zero-calorie sweetener derived from the stevia plant grown in Paraguay and China. Approval may allow the world’s two largest soda makers to reverse three years of U.S. soft-drink sales declines with beverages containing the natural extract, according to Mariann Montagne, an analyst at Minneapolis-based Thrivent Asset Management.

“They are really desperate for something to pick up colas,” said Montagne, whose firm owns Coca-Cola and PepsiCo among the $70 billion it oversees. “There is definitely a need, and people will respond if they have this natural sweetener.”

The two companies lost a quarter of their market value this year, falling about 8 percentage points more than the Standard & Poor’s 500 Consumer Staples Index, as the world economy slowed. Massimo D’Amore, chief of PepsiCo’s beverage division, said Nov. 20 the company will use a compound made from stevia as an alternative to higher-calorie or artificial sweeteners in some drinks as soon as the government gives “the green light.”

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