September 22/San Diego/PRNewswire -- Monk fruit concentrate, an all-natural and fruit-based sweetening ingredient, will debut to the nutrition community at this year's national American Dietetic Association's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in San Diego, September 24-27. By using the calorie-free sweetening ingredient in their products, a variety of leading brands such as Kashi, Bear Naked and So Delicious Dairy Free have been able to significantly reduce their sugar levels, while maintaining their signature great taste. Attendees at FNCE will have the opportunity to sample new foods and beverages using monk fruit coming to retail shelves this fall.

Monk fruit is a type of small subtropical melon and has been used in Asia for its remarkable sweetness and health-giving properties for hundreds of years. Monk fruit's unique sweetness comes from natural antioxidants in the fruit that have a delicious sweet taste, but are calorie-free. With a supply of the best quality fruit grown to strict quality standards, a New Zealand-based company, BioVittoria, has developed a simple, natural process that concentrates the delicious calorie-free sweetness of the fresh fruit. This unique natural ingredient, which gained the U.S. FDA's GRAS status in 2010, allows food and beverage manufacturers to improve the nutritional profile of their products and provide the great taste families demand.

"Every day, children consume about 400 calories from added sugar, which is far more than the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends," said Elizabeth Ward, registered dietitian, nutrition editor and author of the new book MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better. "Families looking to reduce their sugar intake and maintain a healthy lifestyle should absolutely be on the lookout for products containing monk fruit concentrate."

From the September 22, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.