Emergence of monk fruit as a new natural sweetener

A report generated by Innova reveals the global food and beverage industry is anticipating the arrival of luo han guo, as a natural sweetener to rival the success of stevia.

The Chinese fruit luo han guo, or monk fruit, is reportedly 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used in China as a natural sweetener for hundreds of years.

The early part of 2010 saw NZ-based BioVittoria, the world’s largest producer and processor of luo han guo, gain GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status from the FDA in the USA, for its Fruit Sweetness fruit concentrate made with luo han guo.

Set to follow in the footsteps of Stevia – which the Innova Database has recorded in over 150 USA-based food and drinks launches, in the first seven months of 2010 – this development has opened the door to the possibility of soon finding luo hyan guo as a natural sweetener within mainstream products.

According to Lu Ann Williams, Head of Research at Innova Market Insights, “Luo Han Guo, with its natural image and its tradition as a curative product, has made a good start as a sweetener and flavour enhancer”. Although, Williams has warned that, “stevia does have the added advantage of being used in processed foods and drinks in Japan for many years, developing formulations and applications that could then be adapted more easily for the Western market”.


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