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Artificially Sweet

Truvia, an artifical sweetener touted as “honestly sweet,” is hitting the market hard with plenty of advertising specifically targeting healthy, green people who want to eat right and do right. With claims for corporate responsibility and celebrity endorsements geared toward a natural lifestyle, Truvia seems like the sweetest thing around. But is it too good to be true?

Truvia is manufactured by Cargill, a behemoth marketer and producer for products of all kinds. The Rainforest Action Network, or RAN, is an organization dedicated to the environment and a longtime critic of Cargill. This raises the question: how “honestly sweet” can Truvia really be?

RAN’s biggest criticism of Cargill is their irresponsibility surrounding palm oil. Cargill uses 25% of the world’s palm oil, notoriously connected with deforestation and human rights violations. RAN has been campaigning for years, encouraging Cargill to make changes, with no real response from Cargill despite persistent attempts from RAN and its supporters.

While Truvia’s promises to reduce their carbon footprint and waste production sound wonderful, the fact remains that Truvia is a part of Cargill. As consumers, it is difficult to evaluate corporate claims of responsibility. My trusted source for educated shopping, Better World Shopper, which takes an unbiased look at companies’ social and environmental responsibility, does not yet have an evaluation of Truvia since it is new to the market.

For the time being, I’m sticking to Splenda, which gets a “B grade” from Better World Shopper and is calorie-free, just like Truvia, but also keeps my conscience free from worry about deforestation and human rights violations.

I recommend buying the Better World Shopper book or iPhone app, which have comprehensive product evaluations for educated shopping on the go. Make yourself an educated shopper today! Don’t just buy into commercials that sound good without making sure they really are. Educated shopping: now that is honestly sweet.