Nordzucker has become the latest sugar supplier to join forces with stevia firm PureCircle, with the two sides today (23 September) announcing a venture to develop low-calorie sweeteners.

The German sugar group joins France’s Tereos and Associated British Foods’ British Sugar as partners of PureCircle, which believes the market for stevia is set to flourish.

The venture between Nordzucker and PureCircle will look to sell products in northern, central and Eastern Europe and the German firm said it was “excited” to join forces with the stevia supplier.

“PureCircle is the global leader in providing high purity stevia products and the clear partner of choice to merge first-mover developments, in particular of sugar/stevia combined products and supplying our customers with innovative naturally calorie-reduced sweetening options,” said Nordzucker CEO Hartwig Fuchs. “The joint venture’s products will be a strong complement to Nordzucker’s core sugar business.”

Magomet Malsagov, the chief executive of PureCircle, said Nordzucker was “an obvious choice” when the Malaysia-based firm were looking for partners in Europe.

PureCircle’s venture with Tereos, announced yesterday, will focus in Europe on France, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Italy.

Earlier today, PureCircle also announced a venture with German ingredients group Dohler to develop “stevia-based ingredients and formulations”.