Cargill is to introduce to market what it claims is a natural, zero-calorie way to sweeten foods and beverages.

The ingredients company unveiled Truvia today (15 May), which is made from rebiana, a part of the stevia leaf.

"This is a significant milestone for Cargill's emerging zero calorie sweetener business with application across food, beverage and tabletop products. We have spent more than two years validating the consumer demand for this new sweetener. Soon consumers will recognise Truvia for quality and great taste, delivering the first natural, zero calorie sweetness people have been asking for," said Marcelo Montero, president, Cargill Health & Nutrition.

Truvia comes from leaves of the stevia plant, a shrub native to Paraguay and today commercially grown in China. These are harvested and dried, then steeped in fresh water in a process similar to that of making tea. This process unlocks the best-tasting part of the leaf, which is then purified to make a food-grade sweet ingredient. The finished product is 200 times sweeter than sugar.

"This new, natural sweetener leverages Cargill's expertise in specialty food ingredients, agronomy, food science and safety as well as consumer insight and marketing capabilities," said Steve Snyder, vice president, Cargill Health & Nutrition. "The company is positioned to manage the development of this new sweetener from the first plantings in the field to formulation for foods and beverages, all the way to the product that will sweeten your morning coffee."