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Stevia First Corp. Announces "Beyond Reb A" R&D Program

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - Mar 13, 2013) - Stevia First Corp. ( OTCQB : STVF ) ("Stevia First" or the "Company"), an early-stage agribusiness based in California's Central Valley growing region and focused on the industrial scale production of stevia, the all-natural zero-calorie sweetener that is rapidly transforming the food and beverage industry, is pleased to provide details about its research and development efforts aimed at achieving improved steviol glycosides and innovative production processes that, based upon a successful outcome, could catapult the company to a leading role in the sector.

Stevia received GRAS approval in the United States in 2008, and it has subsequently realized tremendous market acceptance. During this period most companies have focused on the production of 'Reb A,' a steviol glycoside that has a favorable taste profile and is relatively abundant within the stevia leaf. However, even highly-purified Reb A contains off-tastes for some consumers. Today, research has shown there are many steviol glycosides found within the stevia leaf that could offer alternative opportunities for even greater acceptance as well as potential for improved production efficiencies.

Stevia First has already initiated work to better characterize the newer steviol glycosides (there are more than 30 in total and less than half are well characterized), evaluate their properties, and to develop methods for the production of the most desirable products using microbial fermentation.

Currently, the development of fermentation technologies devoted to production of stevia extract is the primary focus of the Company and a key value driver. By using licensed processes, Stevia First has the potential to bypass or greatly diminish the need for stevia leaf production, which by some estimates accounts for 70% or more of the total costs of traditional stevia extract production. In addition, through the use of microbial fermentation, the company may enable the first reliable domestic supply of stevia extracts for multinational companies that currently rely on overseas suppliers.

Company CEO Robert Brooke states, "Our work is aimed at enabling domestic production of great-tasting and low-cost stevia extracts. We will be announcing data from fermentation-based stevia production work in the first half of 2013 including the results of proof-of-concept work and process optimization studies. In addition, we expect to recognize the first revenues from sales of stevia extracts in 2014. We also believe our R&D program could lead to valuable new intellectual property generated internally, which could be of interest to multinational companies that are making long-term investments in stevia."

About Stevia First Corp. ( OTCQB : STVF )
Stevia First Corp. is seeking to establish a vertically-integrated enterprise in the U.S. that uses technological expertise in fermentation-based stevia production and improves upon traditional stevia farming and processing methods. Stevia First's U.S. operations are located in the heart of California's Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.

About the Stevia Industry
The market for all-natural, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners is expanding rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates stevia intake could eventually replace 20-30% of all dietary sweeteners. The total global sweetener market was estimated at $58.3 billion in 2010. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.

Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27(a) of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, projections of worldwide sales of stevia products, growth of stevia production and global markets. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects and development stage companies. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.