SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 25, 2015) - Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF) ("SF Corp." or the "Company"), an agricultural biotechnology company 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 announce key technology development and sales collaborations intended to transform sugary beverage consumption in Mexico and Latin America.
SF Corp. has initiated the development of technology and outreach efforts aimed at enabling widespread transformation of bottling operations in Mexico by targeting effective methods to shift large scale beverage industry suppliers away from sugar-loaded sodas in the country. These efforts are being led at Stevia First by Fernando Rodriguez Orozco, a senior process engineer that has worked exclusively within the Coca-Cola supply chain in Mexico for 20 years, including the installation of sugar processing facilities that total more than 300 thousand tons of annual production.
The Company's development focus is intended to rapidly enable and train bottlers in Mexico on how to transform from sugar-loaded drinks to lower-calorie options including products enabled with stevia. SF Corp. is introducing novel processing steps that reduce the risk of product contamination compared to methods used commonly by overseas stevia producers today. The Company also is developing methods that could enable beverage makers to more cost-effectively use stevia with cane sugar, a hallmark of Mexican Coke. These methods may be implemented at existing sugar processing facilities, and are intended for contract supply from the proposed first dedicated stevia processing facilities in North America, which the Company plans to construct in California.
As detailed in a 2013 report by Credit Suisse, Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of death in Mexico. The country ranks second in the world in adult obesity, first in type 2 diabetes, and fourth in infant obesity. Mexico ranks second globally in added sugar consumption per person and second in the amount of soft drinks consumed per person. Approximately 95% of soft drinks consumed are full-calorie, sugar-loaded drinks. As a result, in 2014 a nationwide tax on sugary drinks went into effect.
Robert Brooke, CEO of Stevia First Corp, comments that, "Sugar-sweetened beverage taxes and increasing public health awareness is leading to marked shifts in consumer habits in Mexico, the U.S., and elsewhere. As a company, we are positioned ideally to enable these healthy changes through the use of stevia in particular, which as a zero-calorie natural sweetener we believe will be part of the solution for decades to come."
About Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF)
Stevia First Corp. is an agricultural biotechnology company that is enabling dramatically healthier food and nutrition products. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com and connect with the Company on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
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.