Israeli sugar-reducing startup attracts German, U.S. companies
August 23, 2018
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.— German and U.S. companies that have made their fortunes selling sugar have established relationships with an Israeli startup that has developed a way to reduce the amount of sugar in food without reducing taste.
German-based Südzucker and American Sugar Refining, the Florida-based company owned by the Fanjul family, have both established partnerships with DouxMatok, an Israeli company whose name, a combination of French and Hebrew words meaning "double sweet" reflects what it does.
DouxMatok adds food-grade silica to sugar, which allows the sugar to create the sensation of sweetness more efficiently. As Chase Purdy has written in Quartz, "When sugar-loaded silica hits saliva, it's able to diffuse more effectively than sugar molecules alone, which gives it a better chance at hitting the taste buds on our tongues."
It may seem contradictory for Südzucker and ASR to take an interest in a process that promises to reduce the amount of sugar in products, but each company offers a variety of sweetener products. ASR, for example, sells organic as well as conventional cane sugar.
In an interview here during the American Sugar Alliance's International Sweetener Symposium earlier this month, Randolf Burisch, Südzucker's business director, said that the company, which has operations throughout Europe, finds customers "are looking for how to reduce sugar," and intensifying the sweetening sensation is one way to do that.
"Nobody really knows what happens on your tongue," he said, but the addition of silica means that the amount of sugar can be reduced by 40 percent.
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Suzanne Langguth, the Südzucker quality director, said that while customers are focused on reducing sugar consumption, the company doesn't want to replace sugar with other carbohydrates as some other companies have.
Replacing regular sugar with other ingredients that do not reduce calories "is really cheating the consumers," Langguth said.
"We hope to offer the consumer a solution," she said noting that consumers seem happy with products that have "low sugar."
Südzucker has an agreement for commercial distribution in Europe, Burisch noted. He believes the product will be available in the next year for market tests and foresees it as an ingredient in chocolate and baked goods.
The Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, which promotes collaboration between U.S. and Israeli technology companies for the purpose of joint product development, announced in June that it has approved an investment in Doux Matok and ASR "to develop improved flavor delivery for sugar reduction in food applications."
During its meeting on June 12 in Washington, the BIRD Foundation Board of Governors approved $6.3 million in funding for seven new projects between U.S. and Israeli companies.
In addition to the grants from BIRD, the projects will access private sector funding, boosting the total value of all projects to approximately $15 million.
ASR has not publicized its partnership with DouxMatox, but an ASR official confirmed that the partnership exists as part of ASR's commitment to offering its customers a variety of products to meet their needs.