Senomyx and Firmenich to commercialize sucrose enhancer

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sugar

Firmenich intends to proceed with the commercial development of a Senomyx sweetness enhancer, which could reduce sucrose content by up to 50 percent without reducing perceived sweetness, Senomyx has said.

This step towards commercialization of sucrose enhancer S6973 follows the signing of an agreement in August last year by the Switzerland-based flavor and fragrance firm Firmenich and Californian flavor company Senomyx. The two companies have agreed to collaborate on research and development, commercialization and licensing of Senomyx sweetness enhancers, with Firmenich granted exclusive rights to commercialize a range of Senomyx ingredients designed to work in conjunction with sucrose, rebaudioside A, and fructose.

In return, Senomyx receives license fees, research investment and royalties on sales of products using its ingredients. The company has said it will receive $8m in license fees from Firmenich as a result of the decision to commercialize S6973’s production – the final installment in a total $20m of payments.

CEO of Senomyx Kent Snyder said: “S6973 is a unique flavor ingredient that can help manufacturers provide a significant reduction in the sugar content of their products without compromising on taste.”

Food manufacturers have been increasingly replacing part of the sugar in their products with non-caloric sweeteners and flavor enhancers in response to demand from consumers for lower calorie foods; Senomyx’s sweetness enhancer has been developed to meet this demand as a result of its research into sweet taste receptors in the mouth, the company said. It works by making these receptors more efficient, thereby giving the impression of greater sweetness without increasing sweetener quantity.

Senomyx received notification from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) that its S6973 ingredient is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) in October. The GRAS notification opens the way for its use in baked goods, cereals, gum, condiments and relishes, confectionery, frostings, dairy, fruit ices, puddings, candy, jams, and sauces. However, it does not cover beverages, although Senomyx has said it is still evaluating sucrose enhancers that could be useful for drinks, as they have “specific requirements due to packaging and storage conditions utilized by the beverage industry.”

The sucrose enhancer would be listed on a product’s ingredients panel as ‘artificial flavor’, although the company claims that it has no detectable flavor on its own.

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