September 26, 2022 — Thanks to a dedicated team and decade-long commitment to intense agricultural science and research, HOWTIAN is proud to officially announce a critical milestone in their endeavour to create natural, accessible food & nutrition products for the masses.
HOWTIAN has achieved up to 12 percent average Reb A yield this season – the highest ever in the industry and a significant turning point as stevia costs approach parity with artificial sweeteners.
Natural solutions for everyone — this is more than an ideal, but rather a commitment the founder of HOWTIAN, Zhu Liping, made at the company’s start in 1999. Through his travels and remote explorations, he understood nature as the answer to everything and believed its benefits shouldn’t be limited to those with greater means. This philosophy remains intact decades later. In fact, it was the driving force behind the founding of HOWTIAN’s stevia ventures in 2009 and the drive for Project Shennong.
Project Shennong was inspired by the mythological Chinese ruler Shennong Shi. Known as the “Divine Farmer” and celebrated as the father of Chinese Medicine, the ancient ruler taught his people new agricultural practices, herbal drug remedies, and the importance of healthier lives.
Project Shennong began at a time when different steviol glycoside (the sweet component of stevia) processing technologies were emerging worldwide. However, in this growth period, HOWTIAN saw many divert from the natural-leaf extraction technology and compromise the naturalness of their manufactured stevia for cost savings.
Over the past 10 years, HOWTIAN chose a different path in launching Project Shennong. They decided to set themselves apart and offer solutions that keep natural principles at the forefront while also achieving an affordable cost by:
- Investing in R&D to develop higher steviol glycoside yielding plant varieties
- Testing and scaling them for mass production
“Ten years ago, the average Reb A yield of the stevia plant was about 4.0 percent and has increased to about 7.0 percent over the years. We are delighted to announce that this season, we have achieved a minimum of 9.5 percent Reb A yield, with some plants as high as 12 percent average yield, which is the highest ever seen in the stevia industry,” says Tom Fuzer, VP of Market Strategy at HOWTIAN.
This accomplishment is groundbreaking for food and beverage manufacturers who could not justify stevia’s more expensive price tag – historically 6 to 15 times the cost of artificial sweeteners. Thanks to Project Shennong and HOWTIAN’s newest stevia variants, the cost of use of stevia is quickly approaching parity with traditional artificial sugar substitutes.
“Companies once compelled by cost constraints to choose artificial sweeteners now no longer need to compromise. We anticipate the adoption of stevia to accelerate significantly in the most price-sensitive markets, including beverages, snacking, and sports nutrition,” notes Fuzer.
With a production capacity of 8,000 metric tons, HOWTIAN is the largest stevia manufacturer in the world.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of the industry and to lead the innovations that’ll drive mass market adoption of natural ingredient solutions like stevia,” adds Fuzer.