Stevia supplier enters joint venture in China

by Jeff Gelski
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VANCOUVER, B.C. — GLG Life Tech Corp. and China Agriculture and Healthy Foods Co. Ltd. (CAHFC) have entered a joint venture agreement for the sale and distribution of zero-calorie beverage and food products in China that are sweetened with stevia extract products from GLG Life Tech, Vancouver. GLG Life Tech will hold an 80% controlling stake in the joint venture called Dr. Zhang’s All Natural and Zero Calorie Beverage and Foods Co. (ANOC). CAHFC will hold the other 20%.

CAHFC already has developed 30 beverage products and 300 food products that use stevia extracts from GLG Life Tech. The product concept and brand have been test marketed for a year in cities in China. The company has a goal of achieving $568 million in sales in 2013, said Luke Zhang, chairman and chief executive officer of GLG Life Tech and now also the c.e.o. of ANOC.

CAHFC owns Fengyang Xiaogangcun Yongkang Foods High Tech Co., which has an exclusive stevia extract supply agreement with GLG Life Tech and which will manufacture the initial products sold by ANOC.

A market for zero-calorie products exists in China because 92 million cases of diabetes were reported in the country in 2009, according to GLG Life Tech. According to China’s Ministry of Health, 350 million people in the country are considered overweight and 70 million people are considered obese.

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