Cargill and Royal DSM are forming a joint venture called Avansya that will produce Rebaudioside M and Rebaudioside D zero-calorie, high-intensity sweeteners through fermentation of baker’s yeast. Reb M and Reb D are two of the sweetest steviol glycosides, which also are found in stevia leaves, and more closely resemble the taste of sugar.

The Reb M and Reb D steviol glycosides, which are more cost-effective because of the fermentation process, will be sold under the EverSweet brand name that Minneapolis-based Cargill launched at a commercial level earlier this year. The joint venture, a 50-50 partnership, should be finalized in the first quarter of 2019.

“One of the most significant transformations in global food and beverage markets is the drive to reduce sugar in people’s diets,” said Patrick Niels, president of DSM Food Specialties. “This partnership will allow us to bring sustainably produced sugar reduction solutions based on steviol glycosides to market faster and more effectively at a scale to deliver global impact.”

DSM, based in Heerlen, brings biotechnology know-how and research and development expertise, including strain development and fermentation process development capabilities, to the joint venture. Cargill brings application expertise and global commercial footprint in the sweetener market, as well as large-scale fermentation capacity at its Blair, Neb., site.

“The demand for sugar reduction solutions is urgent, global and growing fast,” said Chris Simons, vice-president of the food segment in North America for Cargill. “While consumers are searching out foods and beverages that help meet their dietary needs or goals, whether for a diabetic diet or simply reducing calories and sugar intake, brand owners know that great taste can’t be compromised. By partnering with DSM, we can further advance a commercialized Reb M and Reb D product line that offers what consumers desire.”