Zero-calorie fruit-based sweetener gets FDA GRAS

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

BioVittoria has received an FDA letter of no objection that its fruit-derived zero-calorie Fruit-Sweetness sweetener is GRAS (generally recognized as safe), the company said on Monday.

Food and beverage manufacturers have been increasingly looking for natural sweeteners for their formulations as public interest in natural food and beverage products has grown. As natural, zero-calorie stevia-derived sweeteners moved into the limelight in 2009, BioVittoria will be hoping that Fruit-Sweetness can tap into the growing interest in this area in 2010.

BioVittoria’s CEO David Thorrold said: “This final piece of regulatory compliance is what the large food and beverage companies have been waiting for​.”

The New Zealand-based company suggests that the sweetener, made from concentrated monk fruit, or luo han guo, could be blended with a range of natural sweeteners, including sugar, Reb A, or fruit concentrates in formulations to improve taste and cost efficiency.

The sweet components of monk fruit – naturally very low in energy – are mogrosides, a type of triterpene-glycoside. When extracted from the fruit and concentrated, the mogrosides are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, meaning that the sweetener could be used in very small quantities.

Thorrold said: “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.”

Chicago-based Paul Paslaski, BioVittoria’s vice president of sales and marketing, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that the company controls a fully integrated supply chain allowing a guaranteed supply of the sweetener.

“We have more than ample capacity and more than enough space to meet demand,”​ he said.

He added that there has been very high interest from food manufacturers, but one of the company’s biggest challenges was establishing “a regulatory pathway.”

The sweetener comes in powder form and can be used in flavors, foods, beverages, gums, baked goods, dietary supplements, powdered drinks, nutritional bars, and chocolates.

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