DouxMatok's proprietary carrier particle can reduce sugar content and calories by more than 50% without losing sweetness or raising costs.
FoodNavigator met CEO Eran Baniel on the company’s home territory in Israel– and tasted some DouxMatok-sweetened foods - two years ago. We caught up with Baniel to find out what the company has been up to since then.
Back in 2015 one of the main problems the firm faced came from the sheer efficacy of the flavour delivery particle.
Although the carrier molecule is the same size as sugar in terms of volume, it is significantly lighter meaning manufacturers need to find a way to bulk up their product with other ingredients – without increasing costs or changing the taste.
“We know it is not enough to improve flavour delivery and enhance the perception of sweetness with no aftertastes – we also need to address the effects that a considerable reduction of sugar will have on bulking issues, mouthfeel, colour other functionalities of sugar.”
When FoodNavigator tasted DouxMatok-sweetened jam in 2015 the sweetness was the same as the sugar-sweetened control but the jam was slightly darker in colour and had a bulkier consistency.
“It is seldom that just one miraculous filler or bulking agent that can solve the problem. It is a combination of materials, and know-how,” said Baniel. “The deeper the reduction of sugars, the more challenging the mix of tools one may need to employ to retain the original taste of the product and volume. This is also where each application and at times recipe needs to have customised work on testing the various tools. What will work best in breakfast cereals, will not necessarily work best in chocolate.”
The firm has recently opened a new applications lab which is almost the same as its chemistry lab – “an indication of the importance of customer support,” he added.
Ready to scale up
Douxmatok currently has three active joint development agreements (JDA) with leading European and US multinationals on a variety of product applications including yoghurts, baked goods, breakfast cereals and snacks, and is in advanced discussions with a few of the largest sugar manufacturers for scale-up and commercialisation.
It is also talking with several potential toll manufacturers in the US and Europe “to ensure we provide the initial thousands of tons’ pre-orders we have already received”, said Baniel.
These projects are due to wind up within the next six to nine months, with consumers able to buy Douxmatok-sweetened foods for the first time in 2018, added Baniel.
“The recent Nestlé news, which cites that their [natural sugar reduction method] is only designed for limited applications such as chocolate, even provided more interest.
"In more than one way the Nestlé news validated our claim that whereas the crystalline sugar is a commodity, enhanced sugars are a specialty ingredient - especially as DouxMatok’s sugars can address more applications then the Nestlé ones - judging by their PR.”
Five patents and counting
The firm’s intellectual property portfolio contains five patents in the US and EU with another 32 patent applications under review and, thanks to its use of micron-sized particles – as opposed to nano-sized used in previous patented methods – DouxMatok’s sweetening solutions are compliant with EU food safety regulations.
“We are in the midst of a full round of $5 million to $7.5 million (€4.7m - €7m) [funding], garnering a lot of attention by potential investors and corporate investment arms, as we are trying to solve one of the most pressing problems that humanity is facing today: obesity.”