"There are large companies that produce sweeteners from the plant, but the problem is the bitterness," said Galam Chairman of the Board Danny Biran. "Sugar is added to the sweetener sold to the consumer in the little packets, it's written in the fine print."
According to Galam CEO Yossi Peled, the company has achieved a breakthrough that will help replace the sugars accompanying the stevia-derived product, and adapt the sweetener to the soft drinks industry.
Galam, which has recently sold 27% of its stock to the Israeli Bereshit Foundation for NIS 97 million ($26.7 million), has invested NIS 80 million ($22 million) of the amount in the development, and has signed a contract with the American company Corn Products International, which grows and processes the stevia plant in South Africa.
"Our developments generated great interest in the international food industry," Biran said. "In order to continue with the development and purchase companies in the field, we need capital. This is why most of the amount we received will go to the company and not the kibbutz."
Galam, which is based in north Israeli Kibbutz Ma'anit, generates an annual sales cycle of NIS 500 million ($137.6 million), half of which comes from export. The company owns two daughter companies in Germany and Spain and another company in north Israeli town of Migdal HaEmek.
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