- DouxMatok, the Israel-based sugar reduction company, has named the team to lead the production and commercialization of its Incredo Sugar ingredient in North America: Vice President of Sales Lorraine Niba and Vice President of Applications Jim Schulok.
- Niba comes to DouxMatok from Ingredion, where she was in charge of the business strategy and product portfolio for the company’s global nutrition platform. She led a specialty sales development team focused on commercialization of new innovation products. Schulok has nearly 25 years of experience in product development and R&D with Mondelez and Kraft Foods. He worked in categories including chocolate, beverages, coffee, snacking and biscuits, and led projects with brands including Oreo, Cadbury, Ritz, belVita, Milka and Capri Sun.
- DouxMatok's Incredo Sugar has been anxiously awaited since the Israeli company announced that it created an ingredient that had 99.75% the makeup of regular sugar, but required 40% less of the ingredient to get the same sweetness. In October, the company revealed a manufacturing partnership with Lantic, owned by Rogers Sugar, which is Canada's largest refiner of the sweetener. The company says Incredo Sugar will be available to manufacturers in the U.S. this year.
With a U.S.-based team in place, DouxMatok's sugar reduction solution is getting closer to working its way into the products that Americans eat. And as consumers are both looking to food to keep them healthy during the pandemic and reaching for comforting sweets while cooped up at home, now is a promising time for this ingredient to launch.
Niba and Schulok's combination of experience in the food business and product reformulation can help bring Incredo Sugar into more U.S.-based products quickly. Not only does Niba have deep experience in bringing new ingredients to manufacturers, but she also has a Ph.D. in food science. She's published several papers in academic journals about various aspects of nutrition, and managed cross-functional teams. Niba can also help manufacturers identify applications for Incredo Sugar and work toward developing those products.
Meanwhile, Schulok can apply his R&D experience from a long career at Kraft and Mondelez to help with reformulation. While Incredo Sugar is mostly like regular refined sugar, it's difficult to reformulate products with it because so much less is used. The structural, chemical and browning capabilities of conventional sugar often need to be mimicked through using other ingredients. DouxMatok co-founder and CEO Eran Baniel has described the difficulties many manufacturers have had when trying to use Incredo Sugar, and the reformulation mantle DouxMatok has taken on to help out. This challenge has made it take much longer to get Incredo Sugar products on the market anywhere.
Schulok's experience creating, reformulating and improving sweet CPG products will prove helpful here. He understands what goes into making a cookie or candy look, taste and feel the way a consumer expects, which will help him use Incredo Sugar to achieve that goal.
While Lantic will be making Incredo Sugar in Canada, DouxMatok said it is concentrating first on commercializing the ingredient in the United States. Some Incredo Sugar bakery products are currently available in DouxMatok's home country of Israel, and products are expected to be introduced this year in both the U.S. and Europe, where DouxMatok has a similar agreement with German sugar producer Südzucker.
Incredo Sugar will join a host of other alternative sweeteners that manufacturers are considering to improve their products' health profiles. This includes natural ingredients such as stevia, monk fruit, erythritol and allulose. But none has the same profile as traditional refined sugar. Stevia and monk fruit, for example, are much more intense than traditional sugar, so less is needed to deliver the same degree of flavor. Erythritol has fewer calories than sugar, while allulose is metabolized differently and is not considered an added sugar for labeling purposes.
Manufacturers trying to make products with less sugar tend to run into the same challenges. They're looking for a taste and functionality similar to what consumers are expecting. Every sweetener faces issues with functionality, but since it is mostly sugar, Incredo Sugar has a leg up on its competitors when it comes to taste. But since the natural options have been on the market for years, the biggest challenge Niba and Schulok have now is making manufacturers aware of what DouxMatok has to offer.