German sugar giant Nordzucker announced this week that it has entered into a joint venture with Danish food group Arla Foods to produce the low-calorie sweetener tagatose, patented by US company Spherix.
In a statement this week, Spherix said that the construction of the first production facility for the full-bulk sweetener will enable Arla to meet its stated plan to market tagatose by the summer of 2003. Nordzucker stated that this first plant will produce 1,250 metric tons (2,750,000 pounds) of tagatose per year.
Officials at Spherix are confident that the market for tagatose in food products could soon warrant expansion of the facility or construction of a second plant.
In addition to food products, Spherix is pressing ahead to begin production of tagatose for non-food uses. Branded 'Naturlose', uses for the sweetener include toothpaste, mouthwash, cosmetics and as a sweetener in drugs.