A natural sweetener developed from an extract of a plant found growing in the wild in South America is touted as the most powerful weapon yet in tackling rising obesity rates around the world.
Stevia has been in use for thousands of years in South America, not just as a sweetener, but also used as a health tonic and treatment for high blood pressure, heartburn, gout and type 2 diabetes.
It is thought to be 300 times sweeter than traditional beet or cane sugar and comes without the calories associated with sugar.
"Stevia can help people enjoy natural-origin sweetness while reducing calories as part of a healthful, balanced diet. There are enormous opportunities for industry to meet national and international pledges to reduce sugar in products to help the obesity crisis", Scientific Advisory Board of the Global Stevia Institute member Dr Margaret Ashwell said.