The American company, which uses proprietary technologies to discover and develop novel flavour food ingredients, announced today that it has initiated scale-up activities and safety studies for S6973.
According to Senomyx, taste tests have shown the product can allow for the reduction of up to 50 per cent in sucrose (sugar) content while maintaining its sweet taste.
“The discovery of S6973 is a major scientific accomplishment and represents a significant commercial opportunity for Senomyx,” said Kent Snyder, president and CEO for Senomyx.
“Flavour ingredients that enable a meaningful reduction in sucrose without compromising taste would provide consumers with new choices for products with lower calories and therefore improved nutritional profiles.”
The company said the raw materials the product is based on remain confidential at this time, and it has not yet anticipated a length of time for developing the product for market.
Providing low-calorie products for an increasingly health-conscious nation is a flourishing business for food manufacturers, with Credit Suisse predicting earlier this year that the market aimed at combating obesity will reach $1.4 trillion in expected revenues by 2012.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 1.6bn adults are now overweight, in addition to the 400m adults who are obese.
Cutting sugar content
S6973 does not have a sweet taste of its own, according to Senomyx taste tests with prototypes, unlike traditional sugar alternatives. Instead it is just intended to increase the sweet taste of existing sugar.
John Poyhonen, senior vice president and chief financial and business officer, said: “Taste tests conducted by Senomyx have shown that S6973 enhanced the sweet taste of yoghurt, cereal, and cookie prototypes, as well as powdered and other beverages.”
The company is also planning on including its ingredient in other product prototypes representing product categories that utilise sucrose such as ice cream, sauces and baked goods.
Senomyx has developed S6973 in its Sweet Enhancer Programme, which is also currently focusing on S2383, an enhancer of the sweetener sucralose. The company says this ingredient enables up to a 75 per cent reduction of sucralose. It expects to receive GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) status in the US for this by the end of 2008.
Mark Zoller, chief scientific officer, added: “The new sucrose and sucralose enhancers were discovered utilising Senomyx’s patented taste receptor technology, which we are now using to focus on the discovery of enhaners of fructose, another carbohydrate sweetener used in a wide range of consumer products.”
Senomyx currently has product discovery and development collaborations with seven of the world’s leading food companies, including the Coca-Cola Company and Cadbury.
Earlier this year, it announced a two-year extension to its collaborative research and license agreement with food and beverage giant Nestle, focusing on developing new flavor ingredients for use in dehydrated, culinary and frozen foods.
The arrangement with Senoymx, which has been in effect for several years, allows Nestle to acquire new flavor technologies and ingredients, and in turn guarantees Senomyx a clientele and funding for future research.