Stevia's 'Breaking Bad' Boost

Brands Jump on Chance to Comment on Sweetener That Played a Surprise Role

By Published on .

For those of you who haven't seen the "Breaking Bad" finale and don't want spoilers... it's probably too late. Last night's episode put the spotlight on stevia, a sweetener that is fast growing in popularity, stirring talk is social media that was hard to avoid.

That said, spoilers follow below.

The stevia plant
The stevia plant

The series finale of "Breaking Bad" found series antihero Walter White replacing a packet of the sweetener with the toxin ricin as part of his plot to tie up loose ends -- in this case, lethally.

That use of stevia caused a buzz on Twitter, with brands and fans alike discussing the sweetener's use as a weapon. HTC and NBC Universal both bought the keyword on Twitter to promote their own brands, while Truvia, a stevia-based sweetener, and Zevia, a soda that uses stevia, also acknowledged the sweetener's appearance in the show.

While the episode suggested stevia is a branded product, it is actually a plant species. There are, however, several branded stevia products, including Truvia, SweetLeaf and Stevia Extract In the Raw. One supplement company, Sweet Valley, does produce packets generically labeled with the word stevia, but it wasn't the one in the show, a white packet emblazoned with green lettering.

AMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zevia, a soda brand sweetened with stevia, jumped on the "Breaking Bad" bandwagon with a tweet Monday bidding farewell to the show -- and promoting itself.

Truvia, the best-known stevia-based sweetener, also took to Twitter to acknowledge the buzz around the finale.

Truvia coincidentally kicked off a new campaign last week that seeks to solidify its position as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners, including Splenda, Equal and Sweet 'n Low.

"It's great to see the growing awareness and use of stevia in popular culture," said Mark Brooks, global business director for Truvia's consumer products division.

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