More Information on Stevia
China currently produces over 80% of stevia leaves in Asia, and is the largest exporter of dried stevia leaves and products worldwide including Malaysia.
Since stevia is a potentially beneficial plant, we can grow our own stevia plants in our home gardens.
When fresh stevia leaves are steeped or boiled, they release the sweetening compounds which make the drink 5 to 10 times sweeter than sugar.
Dried stevia leaves are easily stored for a longer time than fresh leaves.
When dried stevia leaves are steeped or boiled, they release the sweetening compounds which make the drink 10-15 times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia liquid sweetener can be made either from fresh leaves, dried leaves, standardised extract or purified extract. Therefore, liquid sweeteners have different qualities in terms of their sweetness intensity, bitterness and aftertaste.
Stevia liquid sweetener derived from pure rebaudioside A extract will be the sweetest and the least bitter.
We have created a formulation that lowers the bitterness in our products.
The benefits of stevia can be summarised as follows:
Due to its unique and inherent properties, stevia is regarded as an important herb for human well-being. Stevia leaves can be eaten fresh as practiced by Guarani natives of Paraguay, which is still a well-known tradition until today.
Fresh or dried stevia leaves can be steeped or boiled to release the sweetening compounds, so they can be consumed in tea, coffee or drink.
Stevia extract is a natural sweetener but does not contain sugar, so stevia extract does not influence the blood glucose level in human. People with diabetes are likely to benefit from it. In Malaysia, it is estimated that there are over 3 million diabetic patients.
Stevia extract is a non-caloric sweetener, so it can be consumed as a sugar substitute by people with obesity problems, who need to reduce or control or their calorie intake.
Stevia extract has advantages over artificial sweeteners because it is non-nutritive and non-toxic. Stevia is also considered as a high intensity sweetener for use in beverages, manufactured and processed food products. The demand for high intensity sweeteners is increasing worldwide.
Stevia extract is a healthy sugar substitute for children. Products containing the natural sweetener will contribute no calorie, and thus, will not promote dental cavities.
Stevia extracts are extracted from leaves.
The extracts contain sweetening compounds which have unique qualities since they are non-caloric, heat-stable, pH-stable, and not fermentable.
Although many sweetening compounds are found in stevia leaves, two principal compounds stevioside and rebaudioside A are more prevalent. A typical extract from stevia leaves is found to contain about 80% stevioside and 8% rebaudioside A.
Stevia extracts are odourless and white to light yellow powders that are easily soluble in water. Stevioside and rebaudioside A powders look similar to our naked eyes, and therefore, are very difficult to distinguish between them.
Stevioside is 100 to 140 times sweeter than sugar, while rebaudioside A is150 to 240 times sweeter than sugar. Rebaudioside A has the least bitterness and aftertaste compared to stevioside.
Standardised stevia extracts contain high amounts of stevioside, while purified stevia extracts contain mostly rebaudioside A. In the market, stevia extracts cover a range of compositions of stevioside and rebaudioside A, with different prices. Generally, purified extracts are more expensive than standardised extracts. The price of a purified extract may be double or even more than the price of a standardized extract. Price is very high for stevia extract that contains > 98% rebaudioside A.
Stevia plants behave as short-day plants. Under our environments, the duration of day light (or daylength) is less than 13 hours, and is considered a short day. This means that plants become physiologically triggered to flower as early as the seedling stage. Under temperate environments, the growing season usually has daylength of 13 hours or more. Thus, plants enjoy a longer growing period before they become triggered to flower. Towards the end of the growing season the daylength gradually shortens to less than 13 hours, thereby giving the plants the signal to start flowering.