Stevia Supplier Locks Down Monk Fruit Patents

February 28, 2014

GLG wants to protect processing technologies that should lower the cost of monk fruit.

GLG Life Tech (Vancouver) just announced that it is securing Chinese patents for the processing and production of sweetening from monk fruit. This is perhaps surprising, since GLG Life Tech is best known for its stevia business.

While stevia rapidly penetrates the food and beverage markets as a natural and plant-based sweetener, monk fruit is also around. Its fruit source is easily communicable to consumers, but financial cost has always been one of monk fruit’s challenges.

By utilizing its own stevia processing technologies, GLG now produces monk fruit extracts standardized to as much as 60% mogroside V, a key sweetening compound in the fruit. The company is trying to reach 70–80% mogroside V, which could give GLG the highest purification of monk fruit on the current market.

“Customers can expect a better grade of (monk fruit) extracts to work with in their food and beverage formulations, and efficiencies are expected to drive lower production costs,” said GLG CEO Luke Zhang of his company’s patented processes. And if monk fruit prices go down, this sweetener, with its slightly different (yet still sweet) taste, could start taking a greater portion of stevia’s market share.

GLG intends to go after international patent protection, too. At the same time, the company is working on reaching vertical integration of its monk fruit business with farmers in China.

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