Equal® has sweetened up many moments in your life. Now Equal® brings you great sweet taste with Equal® Naturals to sweeten up your food and drinks.

Depending upon the ingredient, our suppliers may use food grade FDA-approved aids to process the ingredient, but none of these processing aids remain in the final ingredient at detectable levels. Our suppliers sometimes use proteins called enzymes or yeast to convert plant material into ingredients through biological processes. These biological processes occur in nature but they may not be identical to the way in which a particular ingredient is created in nature.

We purchase all of our ingredients from suppliers. As part of our supplier selection process, we investigate how the ingredients are produced to ensure that the ingredient meets our natural standard. We use information provided by our suppliers and general industry information.

All of the ingredients in Equal® Naturals are processed to assure consistency of taste, safety and stability. Raw stevia cannot be sold as a sweetener in the United States because all of the chemical compounds in crude stevia extracts have not been shown to be safe for human consumption. We sweeten Equal® Naturals with a high purity extract of the stevia leaf called Reb A because scientific studies support the safety of the well-defined sweetening compound. In addition, the sweet extract does not have the strong bitter aftertaste of raw stevia and is more than 200 times sweeter than sugar. A small amount of the sweet extract delivers the sweetness of a much larger volume of sugar without all the calories. We blend this extract with other natural ingredients to provide volume and further improve taste.

The following sections provide further detail on how the ingredients we call natural meet our natural standard.

Erythritol is the largest ingredient in Equal® Naturals by weight, and is used as an ingredient to provide bulk and the sugar-like crystalline appearance and texture to Equal® Naturals. Using a bulking agent such as erythritol is necessary for delivering the very small amount of stevia leaf extract required to deliver a big sweetening impact. The erythritol used in Equal® Naturals is made through a natural fermentation process using non-GMO corn and a yeast called moniliella pollinis. This yeast digests the simple sugar glucose and produces erythritol. Erythritol also naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables like melons, grapes, and asparagus, as well as fermented foods such as soy sauce and wine.
Reb A (rebaudioside A) is a natural sweetener extracted from leaves of the stevia plant. It is more than 200 times sweeter than ordinary sugar and is low in calories. This sweetener is just one of several sweeteners found in stevia leaves which are called steviol glycosides. Some of the major glycosides contained in the leaf are stevioside, rebaudiosides A, B, C, D, E, F and dulcosides A, rubusoside, and steviolbioside. Although much sweeter than ordinary sugar, most of these natural sweeteners do not taste like sugar and often have an aftertaste. Many consumers who seek sugar-like taste would not find crude stevia extracts palatable.

We use 99% pure Reb A for taste and safety reasons. Reb A is one of the least bitter of the glycosides and, when blended properly, delivers a sugar-like taste. Unlike some crude stevia extracts, high purity Reb A is a well-defined compound that has been studied extensively and has been found to be safe for human consumption.

The glycosides found in the stevia leaf are similar to one another. As a result, a multistep process is required to extract and separate the Reb A from the other glycosides and from other compounds in the stevia leaf. The following description summarizes the steps involved in extracting Reb A from the stevia leaf and purifying the extract.

Stevia leaves are cleaned, dried and milled. This dry stevia leaf powder is then steeped in hot water. The liquid containing the crude stevia extract is then first filtered and passed through special resins onto which the glycosides adhere. The resin is then washed with a solution of water and ethanol (alcohol) to remove the purified glycosides. This solution is then processed to remove any salt or minerals and then passed through an activated carbon filter to remove any odor or color compounds. The resulting liquid is concentrated, filtered and dried. The dry powder is then dissolved in a solution of water and ethanol which is then passed through a series of crystallizers where pressure and temperature are precisely applied. The Reb A crystallizes and drops out of the solution and is separated from other glycosides. The crystallized Reb A is then washed, concentrated and then further filtered to produce 99% pure Reb A. Reb A is not chemically changed by the extraction and purification process.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates which flavorings may be labeled as being a “natural flavor”. The term “natural flavor” means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. 21 CFR 101.22(a)(3)