monk fruit

Sir: I agree monk fruit is a potential ‘breakthrough’ natural sweetener alternative to stevia. Named after the Chinese Buddhist monks who cultivated it for centuries, monk fruit is part of a basket of fruits and herbs (that includes ginger, jujube, rhubarb and osmanthus) long used in China in traditional medicine and everyday food and drink.

The FDA first granted zero-calorie monk fruit approval back in 2010 and it’s been in use since in a number of countries outside Asia under brand names like Nectresse, Monk Fruit in the Raw, Fruit Sweetness, Sweet-Delicious, and PureLo. Monk fruit-sweetened drinks have less of the perceived bitter liquorice aftertaste of stevia, particularly in juice-based applications, hence its potential.

An increased consciousness about healthy nutrition and the role natural products play in helping us to live better is driving a huge shift to more natural and recognisable (in nature) food and drink.

It is the same for sweeteners. It took EFSA more than 10 years to approve stevia. It needs to ignore pressure from artificial sweetener and sugar lobby groups and work faster on reviewing/approving monk fruit derivatives for use in Europe.

It could be key to both helping to solve the obesity crisis and stemming the haemorrhage of juice-drink sales.

Sophia Nadur, founder/director, Ideas 2 Launch