Monk fruit is making inroads in the US dairy industry by providing a solution to the “big problem” of declining milk consumption in schools, monk fruit supplier BioVittoria has claimed.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com at the International Dairy Show in November, Paul Paslaski, vice president of sales and marketing at BioVittoria, said that within the dairy industry the company is currently focusing its efforts on flavoured milk and “addressing obesity in schools.”
“What is does for milk, is it solves a big problem,” said Paslaski.
“People love chocolate milk but they don’t necessarily love all the sugar in their chocolate milk.”
Monk fruit, which is known in Chinese as luo han guo, is a small melon originating in East and South East Asia. BioVittoria’s Fruit Sweetness monk fruit concentrate is approximately 150 times sweeter than sugar.
“So we’re using around one twentieth the amount of sugar to get the sweetness that we desire and our customers desire in their milks,” said Paslaski.
People love chocolate milk, but not sugar
BioVittoria’s Fruit Sweetness sweetener was awarded GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2010.
Following its regulatory approval, Missouri-based Hiland Dairy was among the first processors to adopt the ingredient as a sweetener and flavor enhancer.
“So far they have been the first ones to jump on it and they have had really good feedback from their customers,” said Paslaski.
Hiland Dairy’s full-sugar chocolate milk contains a total of 22g of sugar and 130 calories per 250ml serving. Its monk fruit-sweetened alternative, which is marketed in certain schools in Omaha, Idaho and Missouri, contains 73% less added sugar (3g), for a total of 14g of sugar and 100 calories per 250ml serving.
“And because it is a nutritive sweetener, it meets the existing standard of identity for milks.”
Despite the company's focus on flavored milk, Paslaski added that there is no end to the number of applications monk fruit can have in the dairy industry.
“There are a lot of other dairy applications where it would work, but our main focus is milk because it is the biggest problem,” said Paslaski. “Addressing obesity in schools is our main priority.”
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