April 16/Sydney/Australian Broadcasting Corp. -- A food company says it has found an alternative to chemical sweeteners that are used in soft drinks and juices.

The company Nutraceutical and Natural Products is extracting what it claims is a chemical-free electrolyte from Australian sugar cane.

Chief executive Mike Lehman says the product is a natural ingredient and appealing to the multinational food companies.

"Certainly, we've got discussions with major bottlers around the world with regards to adding it to sports drinks, mainly because what's presently comprising sports drinks out in the marketplace are chemically derived slurries," he said.

"So here we have a natural electrolyte base that can be added to sports drinks, and certainly we feel that's going to appeal to consumers."

 From the April 16, 2012, Prepared Foods’ Daily News