Stevia is becoming very popular as an alternative natural sweetener. People use it in tea and coffee to replace refined sugar which can only be a good thing right?
It comes from the leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana and has been used for 1,500 years by the Guarani Peoples of South America who call it "sweet herb".
We looked into using stevia in our WHEY AHEAD protein shakes because there is an organic version available and just a fraction of it packs a real sweet punch...it has 150 times the sweetness of sugar!
But stevia is currently banned from use in organic food and drink...why?
Well, due to the huge influx of stevia being imported from (mainly) South America, into the European Union free-market, the control and regulation of it has been questioned. As we mentioned in our last Blog (What is Organic?), the traceability & inspection of ingredients is central to the integrity of organic food & drink and there is just not enough information available about stevia for it to be approved. It's currently being investigated as part of the EU Novel Foods Act so watch this space for a definitive answer but it is safe to say that for now, we're not using it.