Over the years we’ve created new drinks, new flavours and new pack sizes because we believe giving you more choice will bring you more happiness. Stevia, our new zero-calorie sweetener, is the latest and most interesting way we’re doing this.

The leaves of the stevia plant are a source of intense, natural sweetness. In fact, they’re up to 200 times sweeter than table sugar and calorie free! And it’s from these that we extract our sweetener.

We listened to the growing demand for more great-tasting, sweetened drinks that contain ingredients from natural origins, as well as fewer calories, and so we turned to stevia. By combining it with fruit juice, sugar or other low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners, we’ve been able to increase our range of drinks and create something for every lifestyle and occasion.

For the green-fingered among you, the stevia plant is a relative of the chrysanthemum family and native to Paraguay. It’s been grown, harvested and used in recipes by indigenous people for centuries. Now, more than 75 countries around the world use stevia sweeteners in their food and drink products which can include bread, sauces and yoghurts.

Infographic: Stevia from farm to fridge

Sprite fans were the first to be introduced to stevia in Ireland. Mixing it with the original recipe meant we were able to reduce the sugar content by 30% while still offering a great, refreshing taste. It gave people the chance to rediscover the drink and enjoy their first sip all over again.

Earlier this year we took our thirst for innovation a step further and launched Coca-Cola Life, a lower-calorie cola sweetened using a blend of sugar and stevia. It contains a third less sugar and a third fewer calories than Coca-Cola1 and comes in bright green packaging.

We’ll continue to explore the different ways we can use our stevia sweetener to add to our list of low-calorie and no-calorie drinks. At the moment we’re using it in more than 45 products worldwide, so when it comes to picking a drink, we really can say the choice is yours!

1 Reduction by one third of the calories than most full sugared colas on the island of Ireland, due to 37% sugar reduction, thanks to the presence of stevia extract