First Zero-Calorie, All-Natural Fruit Sweetener to be FDA GRAS

26 Feb 2010 --- The unique zero-calorie sweetness of monk fruit concentrate comes from naturally occurring compounds in the fruit that are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. This means that just ¼ of a gram of Fruit-Sweetness can replace 8 teaspoons of sugar.

--- BioVittoria, the world’s largest producer and processor of monk fruit (luo han guo) has received official notification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that their Fruit-Sweetness branded monk fruit concentrate is GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) as a sweetener and flavour enhancer. Fruit-Sweetness is the first and to date only all-natural zero-calorie fruit concentrate sweetener to be GRAS notified by FDA.

“Monk fruit has been a traditional food in South East Asia for hundreds of years, but the existing technology for cultivating and processing the fruit could not provide the volume, product consistency and taste quality needed in a natural sweetener for the food and beverage industry.” says BioVittoria’s CEO David Thorrold. “BioVittoria has transformed the monk fruit industry through advances in plant varieties, seedling cultivation, growing methods and fruit processing, creating the world’s only vertically integrated monk fruit supply chain.” Thorrold says the FDA no objections letter is the final step in bringing monk fruit into the main-stream “this final piece of regulatory compliance is what the large food and beverage companies have been waiting for.”

The unique zero-calorie sweetness of monk fruit concentrate comes from naturally occurring compounds in the fruit that are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. This means that just ¼ of a gram of Fruit-Sweetness can replace 8 teaspoons of sugar. Chicago based Paul Paslaski, BioVittoria’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing says that the fruit source is a unique point of difference which consumers will value. “Our consumer research in the US shows moms and their families are wanting natural, healthy choices for everyday food and beverage items like cereals, juice drinks and yoghurts. The same research shows that Moms trust fruit for healthy nutrition. Fruit-Sweetness delivers a tangible consumer benefit by maintaining the core brand values of natural, great-tasting, healthy sweetness from fruit.”

Thorrold also recognises that consumers don’t want compromises, and that existing natural sweeteners are struggling to deliver the complete package of reduced sugar with great taste. “We have conducted extensive sensory profiling which shows Fruit-Sweetness possesses a clean taste profile without the off notes found in some natural sweeteners. This testing has also shown cost and taste benefits for blending Fruit-Sweetness with other natural sweeteners such as Rebaudioside-A.” Thorrold says these results have been backed up by work done with San Francisco based Mattson & Co. a food & beverage innovation company and BioVittoria’s product development partner. “The work at Mattson has delivered great tasting products across a range of categories”. Samson Hsia, Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at Mattson agrees “We were very impressed with the clean taste of this product, and the range of applications it performed in. We also saw real taste benefits for Rebaudioside- A when blended with Fruit-Sweetness ”.

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