Coke has teamed up with Cargill to produce and market the all-natural, calorie-free sweetener rebiana, based on a South American herb called stevia. Coke and Cargill plan to market it in 12 countries that have approved stevia as a food additive, while attempting to win regulatory approval in the US and EU.
Stevia has a controversial past; a 1985 study concluded that it could cause mutations in the liver. Potential fertility problems in men have also been cited. Coke plans to use the sweetener in beverages aimed at health-conscious consumers; Cargill is eying it for products like yogurt, ice cream, cereal, and candy.