7 Steps to Formulating with Stevia

7 Steps to Formulating with Stevia

When formulating or reformulating a product with stevia, the sugar reduction process can sometimes encounter challenges since stevia has different sweetening properties from sugar. Additionally, when it comes to stevia, there is a broad family of glycosides and blends, all with varying properties and flavor profiles as well. To break down these complexities, our experts have created this simple step-by-step guide to formulating with stevia.

Step 1. Determine Sucrose Equivalence for Sugar Replacement

The first step to identifying the best type of stevia for your formulation is to calculate the appropriate amount of sugar, HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), or other sweetener that would be replaced with stevia. Once you know the sucrose equivalent, read our starter guide on the best types of stevia and recommended usage levels, based on the sweetness you’re looking to replace. 

Step 2. Reference Application Matrix for Recommended Stevia

Additionally, we’ve created this convenient Application Matrix that shows our recommended stevia varieties based on sucrose equivalence and application type.

% Sucrose EquivalentBeveragesDairyBaked / SnackCandyTabletopConcentrate
Reb D/MReb D/M
>9%Reb MReb MPegasusPegasus Pegasus
PinnaclePinnacleCrest VCrest V
Reb DReb DAndromedaAndromeda
6-9%PegasusPegasusCrest IICrest IIPegasus Andromeda III
Crest VCrest VReb A 97-99Reb A 97-99Crest V
Crest IICrest IICrest II
Reb A 97-99Reb A 97-99
0-6%Crest ICrest ICrest ICrest ICrest ICrest I
Reb AReb AReb AReb AReb AReb A 50-80

Step 2a. Consider Natural Flavor Labeling

If you are looking to reduce sugar by a small amount, you may be able to use native stevia extract or stevia-derived natural flavors called GSG (Glucosyl Steviol Glycosides). With these options you have the option not to list “Stevia extract” in the ingredients and instead use “Natural Flavor” on your label – which may be applicable if the country your product is launched in follows FEMA guidelines. Small sugar reductions can also help you save on ingredient costs as long as you don’t need to bulk back with other more expensive ingredients. 

Recommended GSG Use Levels by Application Type

Glucosyl Steviol Glycosides (GSG) TypeBeveragesDairyBaked / SnackCandyConcentrate
Plus175 ppm225 ppm133-500 ppm100-1500 ppm175 ppm
4845100 ppm100 ppm100 ppm100 ppm100 ppm

Step 3. Add Erythritol or Allulose for Sugar-Free Applications

Do you need more upfront sweetness, particularly for sugar-free applications? You may want to consider adding erythritol or allulose. Just note, these ingredients cost significantly more than sugar so this would have to be factored into the overall product development.

Step 4. Increase Sweetness with Plant-Based Ingredients

Has your sweetness from stevia plateaued and you still need more sweetness? Consider combining with Andromeda II — our unique blend of steviol glycosides — or adding monkfruit to further increase the sweetness impact on highly-sweetened products. 

Step 5. Add Bulk for Bakery and Confectionery Products

Is your sugar reduction application a bakery, confection, or other product that requires bulking the product back to its original weight? You may want to consider adding bulk using flour, water, maltodextrin or ingredients already in the formula. In addition, isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) is a sweet bulking syrup that our experts often recommend.

Below is a chart that is used to differentiate between various sweetener options with relative sweetness, calories, solubility, and Glycemic Index values.

IngredientRelative SweetnessCalories% Solubility (at 25ºC)Glycemic Index
Allulose62 – 700.42250
Erythritol62 – 700.2370
Tagatose90 – 1001.5 – 2.4553
Xylitol90 – 1002.4638
Resistant Dextrin10 – 301.2 – 2.18010
IMO34 – 502.410035
Trehalose25 – 4546972
Inulin15 – 301.510 – 754
Sorbitol50 – 602.6705
Polydextrose5 – 101806

Step 6. Balance Acid Levels and Modulate Flavors as Needed

Once you’ve finalized the sweetness level, you may need to adjust and recalibrate other ingredients in the formula. One common example is balancing stevia with levels of acid, which is often found in sweetened products. If your application is a ready-to-drink beverage, be sure to monitor the shelf life if the product is near or below a pH of 3. Stevia may degrade over time in very high-acid conditions and when stored in ambient or warmer conditions.

If you notice a sweetness linger that cannot be resolved using a more premium stevia, you may try adding 100-200ppm of a sodium source like salt. You can also add a couple natural flavors like our cost-effective DSG Flavor TN or DGS Flavor FH-80, which is also a sweetness enhancer. These flavors block off-notes from other ingredients in your product like vitamins, CBD, or proteins. In the formulation example below, our DGS TN flavor helped cover some off-notes from the vitamin mix in our PQx Prevail beverage product.

IngredientAmount (g)
Nascent Erythritol83.258
Stevia Andromeda0.56
Plus – Stevia Flavor0.317
Nascent PQQ, Acid0.145
Nascent Inositol2.174
Nascent DGS TN Flavor0.054
Citrus Flavor1.087
Citric Acid7.246
Vitamin Mix5.159

Step 7. Add Nutritional Value with PQQ, Inositol, and Vitamin E

Could your product development benefit from nutritional additives? You should consider formulating with Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) for a healthy mind, heart, and body. Inositol is great for skin health and supporting good energy levels, while the more bio-available Vitamin E is also a good addition for its benefits as a powerful antioxidant.

In need of more detailed guidance for your formulation? View our webinar which covers the complete product development process. If you’re interested in learning more or partnering with us, please get in touch and contact one of our experts.

Formulas For Success is a monthly educational series from our leading formulation experts that covers the basics and fundamentals of trends in product formulation. Each time we’ll be featuring an emerging ingredient or combination of ingredients and sharing the key tips you’ll need to discover your own formula for success.

Guidelines for Natural Flavor Labeling with Stevia

Guidelines for Natural Flavor Labeling with Stevia

Formulas For Success is a monthly educational series from our leading formulation experts that covers the basics and fundamentals of trends in product formulation. Each time we’ll be featuring an emerging ingredient or combination of ingredients and sharing the key tips you’ll need to discover your own formula for success.

Stevia and stevia-derived ingredients can be labeled as natural flavors in many countries around the world, but only within certain limits on use levels specified by international guidelines. There are many reasons manufacturers using stevia may want to declare it as a “natural flavor” on their label. This may include brands or flavor companies that are reformulating and adding stevia, but would prefer to avoid changing their existing product label. While consumer favorability of stevia continues to significantly improve, some manufacturers may still prefer to avoid listing stevia as an ingredient on their labels. Increasing regulation and policies around product labeling can be a factor as well.

Natural Flavor Labeling Guidelines from FEMA

The Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) is an industry organization that works with government legislators and regulators, and the association creates and issues labeling guidelines for flavors. Its guidelines are widely followed by many countries around the globe, including the US. For its guidelines around stevia as a natural flavor, the FEMA panel reviews data that validates whether the flavor on its own tastes sweet or not at low levels.

FEMA maintains and catalogs a vast library of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) ingredients. Many pure stevia extracts have a FEMA number in its library of flavor ingredients. The table below lists these stevia types, along with the corresponding FEMA number and an example of usage level in common applications. Please review the FEMA number on their website for specific application limits.

Stevia IngredientFEMA Number and Guideline to Label as a Natural Flavor
Reb A 60FEMA 4771, Most applications < 30ppm, Gum < 200ppm
Reb A 80FEMA 4772, Most applications < 35ppm, Gum < 234ppm
Reb AFEMA 4601, Most applications < 30ppm, Milk < 45ppm, Cereal < 50ppm, Gum <200ppm, Meat < 75 ppm
Reb CFEMA 4720, Non-alcoholic beverages < 250ppm, Cereal < 400ppm, Gum < 0.1%, Jam < 300ppm
Reb D 95FEMA 4921, Most applications < 32.5ppm, Gum < 325ppm
Reb E 85FEMA 4936, Most applications < 45ppm
Reb M 80/85FEMA 4895/4957, Several applications < 20ppm
Reb M 90FEMA 4968, Most applications < 35ppm, Baked < 70ppm, Cereal < 100ppm, Milk products < 45ppm
Reb M 95FEMA 4922, Most applications < 24ppm, Gum < 240ppm
SteviosideFEMA 4763, Beverages < 35ppm, Baked and Candy < 65ppm, Sauces and snacks < 30ppm, Milk products < 55ppm, Gelatins and Puddings < 65ppm
Stevioside 70FEMA 4911, Most applications < 50ppm, Baked < 200ppm, Cereal < 250ppm
Reb B 95FEMA 4978, Most applications < 30ppm

Enzyme-Modified Stevia (Glucosylated Steviol Glycosides)

Stevia can sometimes be processed with an enzyme to improve a formulation’s taste profile, slightly increase upfront sweetness, and provide taste-masking — or even a slight mouth-feel — to a product. This type of stevia is called Glucosylated Steviol Glycosides (GSG), or enzyme-modified stevia. There are multiple FEMA numbers for this type of stevia product, the most common one being FEMA 4728. Please see the tables below for a current list and specific application limits.

Natural Flavor Usage Limits by GSG Stevia Product Type

FEMA NumberGSG Stevia Product TypeUsage Limits as Natural Flavor
FEMA 4728Glucosylated steviol glycosidesSee chart below
FEMA 4845Glucosylated stevia extractMost applications < 100ppm
FEMA 4876Enzyme-modified stevia, stevioside 20%See chart below
FEMA 4909Glucosylated steviol glycosides, 70-80%See chart below
FEMA 4910Glucosylated steviol glycosides, 40%Most applications < 135ppm
FEMA 4931Glucosylated steviol glycosides, 90%Most applications < 100ppm
FEMA 4947Glucosylated stevia extract 40% with 14% Rebaudioside AMost applications < 60ppm
FEMA 4950Stevia rebaudiana extract with Rebaudiosides A and MMost applications < 50ppm
FEMA 4951Glucosylated steviol glycosides 90% supraglucosylated rebaudioside AMost applications < 70ppm
FEMA 4952Glucosylated steviol glycosides 91% supraglucosylated rebaudioside DMost applications < 50ppm
FEMA 4953Glucosylated steviol glycosides 58% supraglucosylated steviosideMost applications < 100ppm
FEMA 4992Rubusosides enriched glucosylated steviol glycosidesMost applications < 170ppm

Natural Flavor Usage Limits (ppm) by GSG Stevia and by Product Application

GSG FEMA Number4728484548764909491049314947
Baked goods50010010013510060
Beverages, Non-Alcoholic1751001206513510060
Beverages, Alcoholic17510010013510060
Breakfast Cereals50010010013510060
Chewing Gum1500100100135100
Condiments and Relishes200100110135100
Confections and Frostings10010011013510060
Egg Products110
Fats and Oils18911013510060
Fish Products100
Frozen Dairy1331001206513510060
Fruit Ices13310010013510060
Gelatins and Puddings13310011013510060
Granulated Sugar60
Hard Candy13310011013510060
Instant Coffee and Tea1751001006513510060
Jams and Jellies20010011013510060
Meat Products100
Milk Products2251001206513510060
Nut Products17510010013510060
Other Grains13310010013510060
Processed Fruits20010011013510060
Processed Vegetables133100100135100
Reconstituted Vegetables133100100100
Seasonings and Flavors17510010013510060
Snack Foods13310010013510060
Soft Candy13310011013510060
Sugar Substitutes60
Sweet Sauces13310011013510060

For more in-depth information on usage and labeling of Glucosylated Steviol Glycosides in different product applications, view our webinar presentation on GSGs from the 2020 Clean label Conference.

Important Considerations for Natural Flavor Labeling of Stevia

As already described, stevia can be labeled as a natural flavor in a vast variety of product applications. However, one application where this isn’t the case is tabletop sweeteners. For such products as well as other sugar substitute applications (i.e. baking blend sold in a stand-up pouch), natural flavor labeling for stevia is typically not allowed at any use level.

Although many international markets follow FEMA guidelines, some countries adhere to different regulations on labeling of natural flavors in their products. As an example, companies in China don’t conform to FEMA but regulations there do allow GSGs to be added as flavoring.

Additionally, when looking to label stevia as a natural flavor, it isn’t recommended to combine it with multiple sweetness enhancers. This is particularly the case for Flavors with Modifying Properties (FMPs) such as stevia derivatives, monk fruit, erythritol, and allulose since the combination may produce too sweet a taste even at these low use levels. Of course, our experts always recommend reviewing with your regulatory and legal teams regarding the proper labeling of ingredients.

In need of more detailed guidance for your formulation? Partner with us and learn more about formulating with stevia and natural flavor labeling requirements. Contact one of our experts for your product development and formulation needs!

Nascent’s SoPure™ Stevia Attains FDA GRAS Status

Nascent’s SoPure™ Stevia Attains FDA GRAS Status

Nascent Health Sciences, LLC has received an FDA “No Questions” Letter for the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) notification (GRN 983) of its SoPure™ steviol glycosides, effectively achieving the regulatory agency’s safety designation for SoPure™ Stevia as a food ingredient. The FDA had previously issued a “No Questions” Letter regarding the company’s SoPure™ Reb A steviol glycoside. This expands significantly upon that confirmation to now include the complete portfolio of SoPure™ steviol glycosides extracted and purified from the stevia leaf.

FDA Logo
SoPure™ Stevia Attains FDA GRAS Status

“We are very pleased to receive the FDA’s No Objection Letter regarding SoPure™ Stevia’s GRAS status,” says Hank Wang, Technical Director of Nascent Health Sciences. “This provides our manufacturing customers with confidence knowing that their stevia supply is not only grown naturally and sourced sustainably, but is also safe and backed by the most stringent regulatory approvals.”

SoPure™ Stevia is a trademarked family of commercial stevia products from the world’s largest manufacturer of all-natural stevia leaf extracts. SoPure™ has been successfully incorporated in formulations for a vast range of products across the globe including beverages, baked goods, sauces and condiments, tabletop sweeteners, confectionary products, dairy products, and personal care products.

To submit the GRAS notice to the FDA, Nascent partnered with GRAS Associates, a subsidiary of Nutrasource, to ensure regulatory compliance, substantiation of claims, and approval of labeling.

For more information about Nascent Health Sciences’ portfolio of stevia products, natural sweeteners and other sugar reduction ingredients, please contact one of our expert consultants.

Nascent Bolsters Stevia Supply Amid COVID-19 Global Supply Chain Shortages

Nascent Bolsters Stevia Supply Amid COVID-19 Global Supply Chain Shortages

An upsurge in demand for sugar alternatives, coupled with production and logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused significant supply chain disruptions for ingredients such as steviol glycosides, crystalline allulose, and erythritol. Product shortages have also caused longer lead times and prices have increased, further exacerbating matters for many manufacturers of food and beverage products dependent upon sweetener ingredients.

Here at Nascent, we have been focused on reinforcing the availability of our broad range of ingredients, including all grades of stevia from Reb A through Reb M — in both conventional and certified organic varieties — as well as a complete portfolio of 1:1 sugar replacement solutions. While some ingredient companies and suppliers have struggled with delays and shortages due to the continued fallout from COVID-19, we are pleased to inform customers that we are fully stocked on all stevia extracts, blends and flavors. Our inventory levels remain abundant in all our warehouses across the US, with dozens of metric tons of product available today.

Nascent Stevia Supply in US Warehouses

Nascent’s availability of supply is largely thanks to our continuous R&D efforts with Zhucheng Haotian Pharm Co., Ltd. (ZCHT), the world’s largest manufacturer of natural stevia extracts. Along with manufacturing economies of scale and its abundance of leaf supply, ZCHT couples high-efficiency extraction methods with high-yielding plant varieties to achieve the most economical and sustainable portfolio of targeted glycosides.

In addition to meeting supply shortages in this challenging market, Nascent has continued providing strategic consultation services with our customers on optimal formulation solutions, managing changing costs for ingredients and forecasting consumption trends.

For more information regarding our available ingredients and formulation advisory services, please reach out and connect with the Nascent Health Sciences team.

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