LODAAT Pharma managing director, Rajiv Khatau, explained that the company did about a year and a half of research before launching JAGEVIA, studying its own library of botanical ingredients which dates back centuries. Through this research, the company came across Palmyra Jaggery, a sweetener sourced from the crystallized nectar collected from the flower of Palmyra palm trees grown primarily in Southeast Asia where it's typically served raw and as a sweet dip for breads.
"We wanted try to find an alternative [to stevia and monk fruit] that could really revolutionize the sweetener market and shake things up," Khatau told FoodNavigator-USA.
According to Khatau, using the sweet molasses-like sap from the Palmyra Jaggery tree and converting it into a crystallized form through an air-dying process, was the company's solution and entry into the competitive market of plant-based sweeteners.
Unlike stevia, which has been criticized for bitter-tasting off-notes, and monk fruit, which carries a steeper price tag, JAGEVIA has a more appealing sweetness profile and is about 60% to 70% less expensive than monk fruit.
The nutritional profile also makes it a desirable ingredient, according to Khatau, as JAGEVIA is high in vitamins B12, B6, and B1, as well as vitamin C. While not as low as stevia and monkfruit in terms of caloric content, Khatau noted that JAGEVIA has a glycemic index level of 40 (lower than honey, maple syrup, and sucrose) making it a compromise between non-caloric, high intensity sweeteners and sugars.
"We can get up to 150x the sweetness of sugar, and commercially it's wonderful [because of the affordable price, sustainability, and limited seasonality of the Palymerra Jaggery plants]," said Khatau.
Commercialization ramps up with Batory Foods partnership
LODAAT has partnered with Batory Foods, a large supplier of food and beverage ingredients including sweeteners, to distribute JAGEVIA.
Applications for JAGEVIA are plentiful, according to Khatau, who said that the company has received strong industry interests from manufacturers in bakery, confectionery, snacks, beverage, and gummy vitamins sectors.
"We're talking to some really large beverage companies who want to come out with some really innovative beverages," said Khatau. "Bar companies are also really playing around a lot with this."
Commercialization is already underway for JAGEVIA with LODAAT beginning to send out product to customers.