In 2006 FoodNavigator.com reported that India’s Pharmed Medicare, owned by the Aurora family, had developed a new process for making sucralose claimed to be completely different to the processes used by market leader Tate & Lyle.
Now BioPlus Life Sciences, a company with links to Pharmed, is preparing to launch the sweetener as an ingredient to food and beverage manufacturers around the world under the name Solo Sucralose.
In the US manufacturers can already source the new sucralose through BioPlus’ partner Mays Chemicals, chief operating officer Paul Stanton told FoodNavigator.com. Negotiations with potential partners to sell the ingredient are underway in Europe it is expected to be available in the early part of 2010, and in Asia.
Based in Bangalore, BioPlus is owned partly by the Aurora family and partly by venture capital; it is a separate businesses entity to Pharmed, which is focused on the Indian market.
Global sucralose consumption stood at 6,394 tonnes in 2007, according to figures from Euromonitor International. In October last year it predicted consumption to climb to 11,765 tonnes by 2011.
According to Stanton, the key to growth is “innovating to meet existing or future needs, bringing out new forms or different delivery forms.”
The advent of Solo Sucalose brings a new, awaited player into the frame. The expiration of Tate & Lyle’s original sucralose patents from the 1970s has opened up sucralose supply in recent years.
Last year Indian-Swiss firm Fusion Nutraceuticals launched a new sucalose produced using expired parents; Alkem Laboratories, too, said in 2007 that it was using expired patents.
Meanwhile, Tate & Lyle has pursued companies it believes may be infringing its patents. In April 2007 it launched a lawsuit against US distributors and Chinese manufacturers it suspected, although the International Trade Commission ruled that infringement had not taken place.
Stanton said he is absolutely confident that there is no patent issue with BioPlus’ product. Indeed, BioPLus has 28 patent applications of its own pending.
“We have the ability to provide mid to large size players with a viable alternative [to Tate & Lyle sucalose]”
The aim is not to go after Tate & Lyle: “We do not have the same level of market equity or capacity.”
But he added that the company sees itself as a robust second source to major organisations, and an alternative to mid-size players who do not want to deal with a large supplier.
In terms of pricing, the company will look at each customer’s precise requirements and application needs and structure its pricing accordingly.
Manufacturing of Solo Sucralose is carried out in India by a BioPlus subsidiary called VB Medicare; BioPlus Life Sciences, meanwhile, is responsible for marketing and development of the sweetener’s potential.
The company’s capacity is currently at 60 tons a year; as the market develops it will make a strategic decision as to whether to commission a second plant.
Secondary manufacturing for finished sucalose goods (tablets and cup-to-cup) is carried out regionally.