Kraft Touts Wonders of Stevia for New Crystal Light Entry


Kraft Foods is preparing to give consumers another taste of stevia.

The food giant is launching Crystal Light Pure Fitness, which it claims is “the first nationally available low-calorie fitness beverage” made using the all-natural sweetener. (Stevia, also used as a sugar substitute, comes from a plant grown in South America and Asia.) Support includes TV plus print ads in Glamour, Us Weekly and People magazines this month touting the drink mix’s lack of artificial ingredients. Pure Fitness contains Truvia, a brand of stevia introduced by food producer Cargill, and which Coca-Cola also uses in beverages like Odwalla and Sprite Green.

Kraft’s launch is the company’s first major entry into a new, fast-growing category. It comes after the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of stevia as a sweetener in late 2008. (Prior to that, stevia was primarily found in dietary supplements, though the FDA banned it from commercial use for health reasons.) Since then, sales have taken off. For the year ended July 2009, dollar sales of stevia-enhanced foods, beverages and tabletop sweeteners sold in food, drug, mass and natural supermarket channels hit $100 million. Sales—primarily fueled by new product introductions—are estimated to reach $2 billion in the U.S. by 2011, per market research firm Mintel.

Kraft hopes to capitalize on that growth. Roxanne Bernstein, refreshment beverages marketing director at Kraft, said the product targets someone who is “very health minded, is looking to avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible” and is also physically active.

TV ads, by mcgarrybowen, show women boxing, swimming, running and drinking Pure Fitness, which contains electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Tagline: “New Crystal Light. Water your body.” Spending on the campaign was not disclosed. Kraft spent $40 million promoting Crystal Light in 2009, per the Nielsen Co.

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