Cargill is to take its table-top stevia sweetener brand Truvia into Canada – and revealed it wants to launch the product into Brazil and India.

The US agribusiness giant, which launched Truvia in the US in 2008, sells the sweetener in eight markets, including the UK, France, Spain and Italy.

Mark Brooks, business director for Truvia’s consumer products at Cargill, told just-food distribution of the sweetener will start in Canada next month. “We’re just finalising what our market support will be but it’s been accepted at every retailer it has been presented to,” he said yesterday (10 April).

Six of Truvia’s eight markets would be classified as Western economies but Cargill also sells the sweetener in Mexico and Venezuela. However, Cargill’s ambitions for Truvia in more developing markets do not stop there; it expects to see the natural, zero-calorie sweetener on sale in Brazil and India over the next 12 months, Brooks said.

Brooks said Truvia had been a “clear growth driver” for the sweetener category in each market in which it has been launched. Nevertheless, he said the “wow market” had been Venezuela. “Last month, we became the number one sugar substitute, ahead of Splenda, in less than a year,” he said. “We’ve got 27% of the sugar-substitute category. That’s been amazing growth, with strong retail support and we are looking to expand the product offerings in Venezuela. Consumers see Truvia as being part of their health and wellness.”

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The Cargill executive was speaking a year since Truvia was launched in the UK. The company said the UK sweetener market grew 7% in 2012 and claimed the growth was down to the launch of stevia-based sweeteners, including Truvia.

The brand leads the stevia-based sweetener sub-category in the UK, which accounts for just under 8% of sweetener sales. Brooks said the UK launch had “exceeded targets”. He added: “You are delivering on a promise you made to the retailers to grow the category in an aisle that is not the busiest in the store,” he said.

Cargill has added more products to its Truvia stable in the UK. In the last two months, it has introduced Truvia sweetener tablets, as well as Baking Blend, an ingredient containing Truvia sweetener and Silver Spoon sugar.

The early sales of Truvia’s core table-top sweetener in the UK have come despite the product being priced higher than rival products like Tate & Lyle Sugars’ Light at Heart sugar/stevia blend.

Brooks said promotions on run but insisted the brand’s core price reflects the brand’s supply chain and the quality of the product.

“We’re the only brand that manages our supply chain from field to table. We’ve made a long-term commitment to our farmers to pay a fair price. We’ve asked them to implement a sustainability standard. All of that means it’s fantastic from a sustainability perspective and a quality perspective but it means we are a premium product,” he said.

Looking at the broader sweetener sector in the UK, the country’s supermarkets offer a range of own-label products. Brooks suggested private-label stevia sweeteners could be on the horizon.

“Private-label products resonate at a certain price-point but you may not have the crystal crunch of Truvia, it may use a powder carrier. It’s going to give a different experience. You’re not going to sprinkle it on cereal, you may use it for coffee but there’s definitely room for that. You see it in the US and I’m sure you’ll see it in the UK,” he said.