Stevia, the naturally zero-calorie sweetener, is gaining in popularity with consumers and food manufacturers alike. To help provide reliable, consistent information on stevia, PureCircle (LSE: PURE) today announced that it has created theGlobal Stevia Institute, which will launch in June 2010. The Institute will promote accurate, credible and consistent information and resources about stevia to health professionals, consumers and the food industry.

The Institute has enlisted Keith-Thomas Ayoob, Ed.D., RD, FADA as its executive director. Dr. Ayoob is a practicing pediatric nutrition specialist with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York where he directs the Nutrition Clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Ayoob will lead a team of scientific advisors from around the world to better educate the greater public about stevia, how it can fit into today's diet and the current science behind the plant-based sweetener.

"Dr. Ayoob is an ideal leader for the Global Stevia Institute," said Magomet Malsagov, CEO and Managing Director of PureCircle. "He is an internationally known educator on nutrition issues. We trust that he will empower the Global Stevia Institute to reach people across the globe with science-based stevia education and how it applies to today's consumers as they strive for better health and wellness."

Over the past few decades Americans have developed quite the sweet tooth -- consuming on average 100 pounds of sweeteners per year. At birth we have over 10,000 taste buds and we start craving sweet foods in infancy. But an insatiable appetite for sweet is adding to our waistlines with more than 64 percent of U.S. adults either overweight or obese.

"Now more than ever, it is important to find tasty, calorie-free alternatives for sweetening foods and beverages to help those battling obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases," said Dr. Ayoob. "This Institute will play such an important role in educating health professionals, food and beverage manufacturers, public affairs leaders and of course, the consumer about the benefits of incorporating a plant-based sweetener like stevia into their diets."