Nicole Benes, left, and Kelsey Gemmill are the two women behind SweetMonk, an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener. (Photo submitted: Nicole Benes)

BUSINESS

Surrey-based business featured in West Coast Women’s Show

SweetMonk started in April 2017

Nicole Benes and Kelsey Gemmill both say they’re excited to tap into a different clientele during this weekend’s West Coast Women’s Show.

Benes and Gemmill run the Surrey-based business SweetMonk, which is an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener. Benes added that there is “no funny aftertaste” like with some sweeteners.

SweetMonk, Gemmill said, launched in April 2017, and this is the duo’s first time at the West Coast Women’s Show at the TRADEX Trade & Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford Oct. 12 to 14.

Gemmill, who lives in Langley, said they have gone to consumer-based shows before, but this exhibit will be a “completely different demographic” for the two because it’s geared toward women and it’s based in the Fraser Valley where the women live.

“It’s really exciting to be able to do one, first and foremost, in the valley and then also kind of just to be able to deal with consumers that are just like us,” Gemmill said. “Lots of times we end up talking with people who have health issues or are dealing with certain food trends… so to be in a show that is kind of all facets of things that women would be interested in is new for us.”

Benes, who lives in Surrey, said SweetMonk can be put into all kinds of food and drinks such as oatmeal, smoothies, coffee and tea.

The product itself, Benes said, is a pure monk fruit sweetener “with nothing else in it.”

Benes said the lead up to the company and the product started when Benes was prepping for a body-building competition. She said she tried using other sweetener products, but didn’t love those products.

Benes said she then came across monk fruit, which is native to parts of Asia, and they came up with the idea to create the product.

Gemmill said she and Benes both try to live healthy and active lifestyles, and while they both kept seeing monk fruit in already made products, they couldn’t understand why it wasn’t available to consumers.

“We couldn’t understand why it wasn’t available. It just didn’t make sense that it wasn’t something consumers could have,” Gemmill said. “We just took a leap of faith and decided it was really important to us to try.”

Benes said the whole process of creating their business has been awesome, and SweetMonk is now available in almost 100 stores. Gemmill said they mostly work with health food stores, but the consumer base is really broad with some overseas sales.

For more information on SweetMonk, or to find locations where its sold, visit shopsweetmonk.com. Gemmill also said SweetMonk can be found on Instagram (@sweet.monk) where they share recipes using SweetMonk.

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SweetMonk in chia pudding is 👌🏼

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lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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Photo: SweetMonk Surrey-based business SweetMonk is featured in the West Coast Women’s Show in Abbotsford Oct. 12-14.

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