- Israel-based food tech startup DouxMatok announced that it has raised $8.1 million to expand and promote its patented sugar reduction solution by the end of next year. The funding round was led by Pitango, Israel's largest venture capital fund, with the participation of existing shareholders, including Gil Horsky of Mondelez International and FoodLab Capital of Rishpon, Israel.
- Food and beverage companies have tested the company's product and say using it can reduce up to 40% of the sugar content in baked goods, dairy, chocolate and other confectionery items while retaining the same taste profile, according to DouxMatok — which means "double sweet" in Hebrew.
- Leading development of DouxMatok products is Avraham Baniel, Ph.D., who co-founded the company with his son, Eran Baniel. The company statement says the product works like this: "By maximizing the efficiency of sugar delivery to the taste buds and enhancing the perception of sweetness, DouxMatok significantly reduces the caloric value and sugar levels of products. Perception of sweetness is stronger, and lingers longer, resulting in higher satisfaction and reduced craving for sweetness."
The Israeli startup claims that its products are unlike sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners now on the market because they have no aftertaste and are produced using sustainable chemistry principles — and are fully compliant with U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Union regulations.
Additional claims are that DouxMatok products contain half the calories of regular sugar, which would obviously be another major benefit for marketing purposes. Manufacturers would undoubtedly be pleased to display that information — and any potential reduction in added sugars — on their product nutrition labels.
If all of the company's claims prove to be accurate, DouxMatok will be well positioned to sell its products to a huge variety of food companies around the world. Reducing the need for sugar in food items by 40% would not only cut production costs for manufacturers, but it would also benefit overall public health.
Since nearly half of global consumers today demand foods with limited or no added sugar, according to a Euromonitor survey, plenty of companies are working on sugar-reduction applications. One is Nestle, which announced in November 2016 that its scientists had discovered a way to restructure sugar that would allow 40% less to be used in products, but still retain the same level of sweetness.
Nestle said it would patent the discovery and start rolling out confectionery products using the new sugar beginning in 2018.
Regardless of whether sugar is restructured or has its taste bud delivery mechanism altered — or whether natural sugar alternatives are used — the food and beverage industry is likely to continue searching for products that hit that elusive sweet spot by containing the right amount at the right price with the right taste. Consumers should have a chance to find out how well they're doing as some of these products may hit the market next year.