In the snacking category, sugar is commonly used as a binding agent, to hold different components together. This is often the case in muesli or granola bars and cookies, where multiple elements are ‘glued’ together.
However, as consumers look to reduce their sugar intake and opt for ‘natural’, healthy food, entrepreneur Roy Naaman sees white space opportunity to eliminate sugar binders from multi-ingredient products.
Sugar binders out, natural flavours in
“Sugar binder lies at the heart of the industry, allowing for natural ingredients to be ‘glued’ into a snack,” he explained at the recent FoodTechIL event in Israel.
However, the ‘sticky’ sugar binder masks ingredients’ natural flavours, while also ‘diminishing’ their health benefits. Further, Naaman suggested sugar binders are not always clear on the label. “That sneaky food comes in many forms and different names”.
Together with co-founders Yoel Benesh and Gil de Picciotto, Naaman has developed a solution he says keeps sugar binders out, but natural flavours in. In 2019, Torr Foodtech was established, with Naaman at the helm.
Torr Foodtech’s technology has been coined iWeld. “Yes, we weld food,” he told delegates.
The proprietary welding technology combines mechanical pressure and ultrasonic energy to create minimally processed, better-for-you snacks, with no added sugar.
“It allows us to eliminate sugar binder usage while achieving unique textures and taste profiles.”
‘Game changer’ in snacking sector
Torr Foodtech is looking to disrupt multiple categories, from fruit cookies to gluten-free bars, sugar binder0free bars, beef jerky and cheese snacks, worth together in excess of $150bn.
“Our future F&D efforts are expected to unlock more categories s we build Torr’s global snacking platform,” she elaborated. But the start-up is initially focused on the bar market, which by 2025 is expected to reach $32bn globally.
Torr Foodtech has a two-pronged approach to market entry: B2B and B2B2C. Not only does the company plan to sell Torr branded products, but also under partners’ brands ‘powered by Torr’.
The start-up has already developed its own Torr Barr. It is plant-based, ‘clean label’, minimally processed, gluten-free, with no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, and of course, added sugar.
In the US, Torr Foodtech has also partnered with Mondelēz International’s Dirt Kitchen brand, which is testing its iWeld technology to produce a product with a multi-texture and sensorial taste profile.
Rolled out in 50 stores, the businesses will reassess after three to six months, once they have a better idea of consumer reactions to the product.
Having received seed investment from both Mondelēz and Strauss in 2020, and established the pilot launch with Mondelēz this year, the start-up plans to expand into other markets, including Israel, over the next two years.