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EUROPE: The Coca-Cola Co eyes stevia drinks

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The Coca-Cola Co's Europe arm has said that it is looking at using stevia across a number of its drinks categories following approval for use of the sweetener within the European Union.

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The European Commission has formally approved stevia sweeteners for use within the European Union for the first time. Subsequently, the plant-based sweeteners are now approved for use in the EU's 27 member states.

As a result of the ruling, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola Europe told just-drinks today (15 November) that the company is actively "exploring the use of the stevia sweetener across several beverage categories".

Yesterday, the company said in a statement that the Commission's decision "paves the way for the company to deliver more beverages with fewer calories".

The Coca-Cola Co was one of the first soft drinks firm's to launch a beverage sweetened with stevia, with the roll out of Sprite Green in the US in December 2008. The firm also launched stevia-sweetened Fanta Still in France in March 2009.

Products containing stevia have been on sale in France for two years, but suppliers had been waiting for the EU to approve the ingredient's use across the entire bloc.

A spokesperson for PepsiCo in Europe told just-drinks that, while the company is committed to providing "food and beverage choices that contribute to healthier eating and drinking", at present, the company has "no news to provide regarding beverage introductions in Europe".

The stevia regulation is now present in the Official Journal of the EU and will enter into force on 2 December.


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