Sweetener giant Splenda has announced the opening of a $50 million 1,465-acre eco-conscious farm in Sumter County.
Splenda and its parent company, Heartland Food Products Group, have launched the first-ever fully integrated U.S.-based stevia farm at Lake Panasoffkee.
“Our decision to establish the Splenda Stevia Farm in Sumter County is part of our strategy to help bolster the American agricultural industry while helping decrease the environmental impact caused by current global supply chain operations associated with stevia,” said Ted Gelov, chairman & CEO of Heartland Food Products Group.
Until now, all stevia has been grown and processed in markets outside the United States, mainly China, and requires a complex and heavy transportation infrastructure to bring to the U.S. market.
“By growing and producing stevia extract right here in Florida, we will eliminate the impact of transporting stevia from overseas. Our meaningful investment in the Splenda Stevia Farm represents our commitment to Made In America and minimize reliance on key ingredients that are currently only sourced from China. Our investment helps local farmers, the environment, and the overall economic prosperity of Central Florida,” Gelov said.
Splenda stevia products were proudly on display Tuesday night at the Everglades Recreation Center during the Sumter County Commission meeting where the farm was discussed.
County Administrator Bradley Arnold noted that company opted to locate the farm in Sumter County without receiving any economic incentives.
Splenda has sold more than 100 billion yellow packets since its launch in 1991. Splenda offers natural sweeteners such as Splenda Stevia Sweeteners and Splenda Monk Fruit Sweeteners, Splenda Coffee Creamers, Splenda Diabetes Care Shakes, Splenda Sweet Teas and more.
Heartland is headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind.