- DouxMatok, an Israeli sugar startup, entered a partnership with leading European sugar company Südzucker in which the manufacturer is going to start making commercial quantities of DouxMatok's specialized sugar, according to a company statement. With DouxMatok sugar, manufacturers and consumers only need about 40% of the usual amount.
- In this partnership, the two entities are working together on production, marketing and sales of the sugar throughout Europe. The ingredient will be mass produced for commercial clients starting in late 2019. A similar agreement involving a U.S. manufacturer may be announced soon, DouxMatok CEO and cofounder Eran Baniel told AgFunder News.
- Although the DouxMatok product is designed to reduce sugar consumption and sales, Randolf Burisch, commercial head of Südzucker's sugar business unit, said the company is excited for the partnership. "Leveraging key trends, we strive to deliver to our customers the best solutions, enabling them to be successful in their markets, he said in the statement. "The innovative and natural sugar reduction technology of DouxMatok is a logical extension of our diverse product portfolio."
This partnership uses individual strengths of DouxMatok and Südzucker to bring the altered sweeter sugar out of the lab and into products. It's not an acquisition, a stake, or a purchase. It takes advantage of the manufacturing, distribution and selling knowledge of Südzucker, which will run that part of the business. DouxMatok, which means "double sweet" in Hebrew, has a patent on the discovery and technology to create the sweetener-reducing product.
"We see this cooperation as a vote of confidence by the best of the sugar industry in Europe in launching the first sugar-based targeted delivery technology," Baniel said in a written statement. "The great synergies of the two teams are proven daily during the scale-up of the production set-up, as well as during the preparations for marketing and sales. Our vision at DouxMatok is to pioneer targeted delivery of flavor and food ingredients, such as sugars, enabling consumers to enjoy the exact same tastes they know and love, with a better and healthier nutritional profile."
This kind of partnership, while rare, is slowly becoming more commonplace. In late July, JUST announced a similar deal with Italy-based Eurovo, which will manufacture and distribute vegan substitute JUST Egg. JUST CEO Josh Tetrick told Food Dive this sort of partnership helps his company continue to develop items that help the food system, leaving the other parts of the equation to a company that knows them much better.
DouxMatok's sugar definitely has the power to change the CPG world. According to a study from Leatherhead Food Research, about half of U.S. consumers want to cut back on sugar. DouxMatok's sugar binds molecules of sweetener to other common compounds, which trick the consumer's brain into thinking there is more of the sweetener there. The upshot, which DouxMatok said has been tested by several manufacturers, is a reduction of the amount of sugar needed by 40%.
While this agreement doesn't impact production or sale of the product in the U.S., the fact that there may be a similar announcement here soon is good news both for the company and the consumer. New Nutrition Facts labels that reflect consumers' concern on sugar are in the process of being rolled out. The labels call out weights of "added sugars." An ingredient like DouxMatok helps to keep this down, making it a win both for the product it's in and the consumer.
DouxMatok's transformational possibility was apparent last year to several venture capitalists, who helped complete an $8.1 million funding round almost a year ago. At the time, the company said it wanted to expand and promote its offerings by the end of 2018.
This currently is not the only product on the European market that uses less weight to produce the same amount of sweetness. Nestlé scientists worked on developing a "hollow" sugar molecule in 2016. The specialized sweetener is on the market now in Milkybar Wowsomes.
Even though Nestlé was first to market, this kind of partnership could help DouxMatok's technology become the universal choice. Südzucker knows how to scale the product, and wide availability to any manufacturer that wants the ingredient will allow a wide array of products use it for reduced sugar reformulations. This agreement may show that the sweetest way to improve the food system is through a partnership.