DouxMatok’s 40% reduced sugar allows for indulgence: ‘Sugar is not the new tobacco’

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Sugar Taste Israel

The Israeli start-up’s 40% reduced sugar allows for sweet indulgence without changing consumer behaviour, says CEO Eran Baniel.

DouxMatok is just weeks away from launching its 40% reduced sugar on the European market with production and commercialisation partner Südzucker.

The firm has carried out successful tests across a number of applications, including chocolate, spreads, baked goods, cereal bars, and gummies, and according to CEO Eran Baniel, “the pull from industry is huge”.

“For every kilogram we have made, until we started going industrial, there have been at least 100 hands stretched,” ​he told delegates at this year’s Seeds and Chips conference in Milan.

The reason for this is two-fold, Baniel explained. Firstly, in response to dangerously high sugar intake in adults and children, food manufacturers are looking at ways to reformulate or reduce portion sizes to decrease added sugar content.

In the UK, for example, children are consuming more than double the recommended intake of sugar per year, which equates to an excess of eight sugar cubes – or approximately 32 g of sugar – per day, according to Public Health England (PHE).

DouxMatok is also an attractive alternative to traditional sugar because it causes “no disruption” ​to consumer behaviour, Baniel told delegates.

“We like our indulgences, we need our indulgences. They make us happy. However, if we overdo it, we pay a price,”​ said Baniel, referencing risks of obesity, diabetes, heart conditions and huge costs.

“But don't let people fool you. Sugar is not the new tobacco. Nature thrives on sugar for energy, [whereas] only one thing thrives on tobacco, and that’s cancer.”

“Sugar is happiness for many people…We don’t want to disrupt the child that wants his candy. But if you can achieve it, improve his nutrition, reduce his sugar, [then] isn’t it disruptive?” – DouxMatok CEO Eran Baniel

The ‘double sweet’ solution

DouxMatok says its technology can reduce 40% of the sugar in finished products while retaining the same, sweet sensory profile.

“We have developed a platform for improved flavour delivery that takes little flavour and makes it taste like much, so that a little sugar tastes like a lot of sugar,” ​said the CEO.

'And consumers actually prefer it': DouxMatok CEO Eran Baniel at Seeds&Chips 2019

To do this, DouxMatok – which means ‘double sweet’ in Hebrew – loads fibre or mineral carriers with sugar molecules. These ‘clusters of sweetness’ enter the oral cavity, then the saliva layer, before ‘pumping’ sugar into the taste receptors.

“The carriers are also mucoadhesive…and as such, they stay by the receptors longer. They keep pumping those sugars, making the DouxMatok sugars very full – and [the consumer] doesn’t immediately reach for the next bite.”

Ultimately, DouxMatok’s solution means that rather than 20% of a traditional sugar molecule reaching taste receptors and 80% heading straight for the digestive system, a much larger percentage will be enjoyed on the tongue.

“it’s the same sugar quality, just with 40% less sugar…and the same indulgence.”

‘And consumers actually prefer it!’

A blind taste test has revealed that for certain food items, consumers prefer DouxMatok’s 40% reduced sugar compared to its conventional counterpart.

The EIT Food project, which was coordinated together with Givaudan, Puratos, Strauss and the University of Reading, found that 68% of the mothers of children aged 4-12 preferred butter biscuits containing DouxMatok sugar.

And in intention to purchase, three times as many participants said they would opt for the DouxMatok sugar-containing products rather than the traditional butter biscuit.

In another blind test investigating the taste profile of hazelnut spread made with DouxMatok sugar, 120 adolescents aged 13-18 ate two versions of a Nutella-like spread: one containing conventional sugar, the other containing DouxMatok’s 40% reduced sugar.

41% preferred full sugar, compared to 59% who opted for the reduced sugar alternative.

“When [shoppers] walk to the shelf, their first consideration – in all statistics – is taste,” ​said Baniel. “And consumers actually prefer it.”

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