Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corp. (Monk Fruit Corp.) was founded in 2004 by Fusheng (Frank) Lan as a Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Venture, with its joint venture partner BioVittoria Ltd from New Zealand. Monk Fruit Corp was from the beginning focussed on the development of a world-class monk fruit supply chain for producing high-quality ingredients for the food and beverage industry. Building on the know-how and technology developed by Mr Lan and his agronomy team for monk fruit seedling propagation and orchard management, the company soon established itself as the industry leader, introducing the first commercial supply of tissue cultured monk fruit seedlings and the first minimum price contracts with growers to ensure stability of supply and risk sharing with the growers.
The next significant milestone for Monk Fruit Corp was attaining Self-Affirmed GRAS status in the US for its monk fruit extract as a natural sweetener in foods and beverages. With this regulatory approval in place, Monk Fruit Corp could begin to sell monk fruit extract into the US for use as a sweetener in foods and beverages, although mainstream acceptance of this ingredient would have to wait until 2010 when the FDA review was completed. 2006 also saw the establishment of the company’s Monk Fruit Association. Through the Association the company has since 2006 supported farmers in more than 150 villages in 9 counties to plant more than 4,000 hectares of monk fruit orchards.
In 2008 there was a second stage of investment into Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corp including investment from the New Zealand Government. These funds were used by Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corp to complete the first ever purpose-built monk fruit processing facility, near Guilin.
There were two key events in 2010 that would underpin the future growth of the company. The first milestone was the FDA approval in January 2010 of monk fruit for use as a sweetener in the US. With this regulatory approval in place large food and beverage companies could now consider using monk fruit extract as a sweetener in food and beverage products. With this milestone in place Monk Fruit Corp began discussions with a number of large food ingredient companies, eventually partnering with Tate & Lyle in a five year exclusive partnership which Monk Fruit Corp and Tate & Lyle entered into in October 2010. Tate & Lyle is one of the world’s largest food ingredient companies, and this agreement was critical in gaining industry acceptance from the largest food and beverage companies for monk fruit.
The period 2010 to 2014 saw a rapid increase in demand for monk fruit products, particularly in the US market. To support this growth Monk Fruit Corp completed a further round of new capital raising in September 2014. With these new funds Monk Fruit Corp has significantly increased both raw material and processing capacity, and has also acquired seedling manufacturer Guilin Bio-DaDi. Co. Ltd, the assets and business of BioVittoria Ltd, and has established overseas subsidiaries in the US and New Zealand.
Today Monk Fruit Corp. is the only company in the world with a fully integrated supply chain and in-house expertise spanning monk fruit genetic resources, superior plant varieties, seedling cultivation technology and capability, farmer training, orchard technology research and development, monk fruit processing for extract and juice products and selling and marketing of monk fruit ingredients.
The company owns 26,000m3 of refrigerated storage and 8,000m2 of plant and has processing capacity for over 30,000 tons of fresh monk fruit and a tissue culture seedling production centre with an annual output of 4 million seedlings. The company operates its overseas business through two wholly-owned subsidiaries both named Monk Fruit Corp. and located in Hamilton, New Zealand and Chicago, USA respectively.
For more than a decade Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corp has been the world’s leading monk fruit company. During this time Monk Fruit Corp has been at the forefront of the development of the monk fruit industry and has been responsible for introducing many significant innovations in agronomy and processing. As a result of Monk Fruit Corp’s innovation and leadership monk fruit is now a recognised main-stream ingredient and features in products from Nestlé, Pepsico, The Coca-Cola Company, Uni-President, General Mills, Kellogg and Chobani to name a few. Monk fruit is also being embraced by some of the fastest growing food and beverage companies in the US. Natural soda maker Zevia, ice cream maker Arctic Zero, juice company Califia Farms, baked goods brand Vitalicious and So Delicious Dairy Free are just a few of the up-and-coming brands that have developed products with monk fruit.
Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corp is the world’s leading monk fruit company – a title which it has earned from more than a decade dedicated to innovation, focus and leadership in the monk fruit industry.