Truvia. Remember that name. It’s a natural, no-calorie sweetener derived from compounds found in the leaves of an herb called stevia. Agribusiness giant Cargill is about to roll out Truvia, which is being positioned as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners. D’Agostino markets in Manhattan will debut the product shortly. Eventually, supermarket chains and big box retailers will follow suit. All of this according to a recent news article in Reuters.
With a suggested retail of $3.99 for a box of 40 green/white packets, Truvia will be slightly more expensive than its artificial sweetener “cousins”. Truvia will also begin to be used as a sweetener in foods and beverages like cereals, snack bars, yogurts early next year. Coca-Cola helped Cargill develop Truvia, so the company retains exclusive rights to use it in its beverages.
While too much of any sweetener is never a good idea, natural or not, stevia can be used in small quantities to good effect. It isn’t man-made, either. Cargill worked closely with FDA for three years to make sure the agency’s “health questions and concerns about Truvia were addressed”.
Cargill also supervised the growing of the plants and extracted only specific leaf compounds to ensure consistent quality, without any of the plant’s other compounds that may have health-related implications. Ann Tucker, Cargill spokeswoman, “An independent panel of experts met, reviewed the science, and made the statement that the product is safe.” FDA has copies of the data proving that Truvia is safe.
The refined sweetener, dubbed rebiana, is being sourced by Cargill from stevia suppliers in China and South America. It’s not often that a new naturally sourced product is found and comes to market.
If you were a marketer at Cargill, responsible for the new Truvia brand:
* How would you bring the new natural sweetener to market?
* Should Truvia be positioned first as a natural product like cane sugar, but without any calories?
* Or should it be positioned as a sweetener that doesn’t detract from the foods in which it is used? Or leave an aftertaste?
* Or would it be a better strategy to position Truvia as simply natural vs all of the artificial sweeteners out there?
I’d love to hear from you.