INDIANAPOLIS — Heartland Food Products Group, the parent company of the Splenda sweetener brand, has opened a stevia farm in central Florida by investing $50 million. Sourcing stevia from the farm will reduce carbon dioxide emissions when compared to current global supply chain operations, according to Heartland.

“Until now, all stevia has been grown and processed from markets outside the US, mainly China,” said Ted Gelov, chairman and chief executive officer of Heartland. “The approach we’ve engineered with our Splenda stevia farm gives US farmers an opportunity to grow and process stevia right on their own farms.”

On the 1,465-acre farm Splenda engineered socially responsible farming techniques and implemented water conservation measures and waste management. Since the farm is vertically integrated, Splenda will oversee every step of production from crop propagation to the extraction of glycosides from the leaves.

Over 100 billion packages of Splenda, a low-calorie sweetener, have been sold since the brand’s launch in 1991.