Last Updated Sep 25, 2009 2:53 PM EDT
But though people continue to throw around phrases like "the holy grail of sweeteners," problems remain. A majority of consumers have still never heard of the sweetener. Furthermore, as companies struggle with different formulations to counter unpleasant aftertastes, there is a danger that a customer's bad experience with one stevia product could turn them off of stevia for good.
Glaceau made the interesting choice of using stevia in its Vitamin Water 10 but not bragging about it; Rebiana (the stevia extract) is listed in the ingredients panel, but there's no effort to advertise the fact. Someone who thought they hated stevia could wind up hooked on Glaceau's water before they even realized stevia was in it.
A full 11 percent of people say they distrust stevia and will actively avoid it, according to research by Mintel. Another 11 percent have tried and liked it -- leaving a large majority whose minds and taste buds are still up for grabs.
Meanwhile, food developers are working on cracking the code to making stevia work in ice cream.
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