Cesar Cruz Jr.
Business Mirror | July 19, 2019
It is no secret that more and more people are making their health and wellness their top priority. After all, who does not want to look and feel good as they age? A crucial factor that contributes to the state of our health has a lot to do with what we eat.
While everyone wants to indulge in their favorite sugary treats, nobody wants to impact the blood sugar levels in the body in a negative way.
Thankfully, there is a noncaloric sustainable sweetener that comes to the rescue. The organic sugar substitute is known as stevia. This shrub type of plant, first found in Paraguay, could hold the potential to provide the solution to weight management goals. Could this be the solution sweet-tooth individuals are looking for?
In the 58th Philippine Association of Food Technologies Inc. annual convention held recently at the Crown Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas Center, Ms. Cecille Miciano, export/marketing officer of Glorious Industrial and Development Corp. (GIDC) was among the guest speakers to lecture on the theme of “Future Food.” She spoke on the topic of plant-based sweetening alternative ingredient for tomorrows need. Her findings based on the 2020 Global Consumer Trends showed that the world market is ripe for the introduction of stevia. Likewise, she mentioned that among the five global trends according to Kroger (an American retailing company), plant-based food is one of them—consumers choosing to go meatless or dairy free gave rise to “Meatless Monday” and “Flexitarian Friday,” for example.
The local scenario seems to support this trend. In the Philippine sugar tax bill, because stevia is not sugar but purely steviol glycosides, it was exempted from the excise tax. Added to this, the guidelines on food and drinks as stated by the Department of Education, is the message that there is a need for students to limit the intake of free sugar for health reasons. The sequence of events makes it conducive or ripe for stevia to generate a buzz and penetrate mainstream consciousness.
The GIDC officer left the audience with the famous words attributed to Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”
Dessert Application of Stevia
A shining example of stevia’s application in dessert was witnessed by the those who partook of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Food Festival of Diamond Hotel held during the country’s independence month. While it has been a practice of the hotel to feature celebrity chefs and their signature dishes, this time around was different. Diamond Hotel GM Vanessa Suatengco got hold of Chef Christopher Cariangan for an exciting collaboration. His passion for food research has brought to life culinary treasures of yesteryears. Aside from being the founder and president of Razorchef Philippines and being the chief general of the Culinary Generals of the Philippines, there is more to this Filipino-cuisine expert than meets the eye. His role as a brand ambassador of Sweet & Fit Stevia food supplement powder proved to be the ace up his sleeves as his tasty creations made a splash at the dessert station of the food festival. His three kinds of ice cream flavors, which were sweetened by Sweet & Fit Stevia were Ube Kinampay, Activated Charcoal, and Criollo. The Ube Kinampay, for example, pays tribute to the root crop native to Bohol. Its inherent creamy texture proved to be a good match for stevia.
On the other hand, heavy cream and eggs were added in the making of charcoal ice cream to achieve the desired texture as it is mixed with Sweet & Fit Stevia. Lastly, Criollo refers to the rare and expensive variety of heirloom cocoa. The ice cream flavors were a hit. The ice-cream flavors made with stevia had their share of fame as they made their rounds in social media. The locally produced stevia pride itself of having no bitter aftertaste.
Continuous research and development were key ingredients in developing great tasting food with stevia.
Glorious Industrial and Development Corp.
GIDC is the Philippines’s first stevia company established in 2004. To insure the nutrients of the stevia are intact after undergoing the production process, the company avails of the service of a third party lab test.
To further its credibility, there is an ongoing organic certification from the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines and Nicert organic inspection and certification. The issuance of the certificate would be a big boost to the company as it grows its list of satisfied clients both locally and abroad. Sweet & Fit Stevia was first marketed to the dietary department of hospitals catering to diabetic and borderline diabetic patients, as it positions itself as a health alternative to sugar. In recent years, on the other hand, the product demand has been on the upswing as health conscious individuals who turned into ketogenic diet looked for a sugar substitute. Not only does stevia meet the criteria, the product also has a zero reading in the nutritional facts department in terms of calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium and total carbohydrates. The stevia company is certified by FDA, Phils.,ISO 9001-2015, Good Manufacturing Practices, Halal and DOST-Assisted Project.
GIDC supports the Stevia farming communities as it improve the quality of their life by way of higher income, educational assistance, health care and additional training.
Cesar Cruz Jr.
Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.