Cargill Unveils Natural No-Calorie Sweetner

Consumers looking for a guilt-free way to satisfy a sweet tooth now have another option.

A new no-calorie sweetener jointly developed by Coca-Cola and Cargill will go on sale for the first time on Wednesday. The sweetener, named Truvia, is made from the leaves of stevia, an herb grown in South America and Asia.

Stevia-based sweeteners are already used in products in Japan and South Korea and are available as a nutritional supplement in the U.S. Truvia would be the first stevia sweetener marketed as a table-top alternative to sugar substitutes like Splenda and Equal.

The product will be available for sale online and at the New York-based grocery store chain D'Agostino. Forty-count packages will be sold for $3.99. Marcelo Montero, president of Cargill's health and nutrition business, said Truvia will be distributed nationally beginning in the fall.

"People want a natural, zero calorie, great tasting sweetner and Cargill has aligned resources, talent and a lot of effort over the last few years to make Truvia a reality," Montero said, in an interview on CNBC.

Cargill said it has tested the product extensively and published the results of studies backing its safety in the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in May. Cargill spokesman Ann Tucker said under Food and Drug Administration rules, no further approval is required to market and sell the product as a general purpose sweetener.

Coca-Cola and Cargill jointly own the trademark on the sweetener, and Coca-Cola has said it will likely use the product to sweeten its drinks.

Coca-Cola spokesman Kelly Brooks said in an e-mail response to inquiries that the company could not comment on when consumers might see the sweetener in its drinks.

"We will explore possible applications for our portfolio, but for competitive reasons we cannot discuss timing," Brooks said.