Over the past two years, Lantic and DouxMatok have worked together to transition from pilot testing to successful commercial scale manufacturing at Lantic's cane sugar refinery in Montreal, said Lantic CEO John Holliday.
“We are extremely pleased to have secured an exclusive cane sugar manufacturing agreement with DouxMatok for this innovative technology… As we see a noticeable trend towards a return to natural cane sugar in many consumer products, the reduction of 30 to 50% in sugar content makes this move even more compelling.”
Sugar… only sweeter?
Founded in 2014 by Eran Baniel using technology developed by his father (who worked as a consultant with Tate & Lyle to develop sucralose), DouxMatok uses an inert mineral particle (silica) as a carrier for sugar molecules.
The sucrose molecules surround and coat the silica particle to form structures that human taste receptors perceive to be sweeter than a comparable amount of sugar in free unassociated form – enabling sugar reductions of up to 60%, depending on the application, although typical reductions range from 30-50%.
When DouxMatok sugar is consumed, the sucrose is metabolized as normal and the silica* (which is tasteless, odorless and calorie-free) passes through the body and is excreted.
However, a next-generation version of the technology using a more consumer-friendly fiber as the carrier is coming soon.
Looks, tastes, and behaves like sugar
While DouxMatok sugar doesn’t work its magic in beverages or applications with high water activity (sugar is water soluble so the above-described structure breaks down) it’s attractive to product developers because it performs (you can freeze it, heat it, bake it) - and tastes – just like regular sugar, says the company.
It can also be listed simply as ‘sugar’ on the ingredients list (the silica serves as an incidental additive in the US and does not have to be included on labels, although firms may wish to reference it in the interests of transparency).
DouxMatok's technology platform - which is backed by 24 granted patents - has had particular success in chocolate, chocolate spreads, baked goods and soft confectionery such as vitamin gummies, said Liat Cinamon, VP of business development.
As less sugar is required to deliver the same sweetness, formulators typically have to add bulking agents, so working with CPG partners to formulate clean label products that really deliver on a sensory and nutritional front has been key in recent months, she added.
"We expect early adopters of sugar reduction marketing to be health and wellness oriented companies who see the value in adding better for you ingredients on top of sugar reduction"
Asked what kinds of conversations DouxMatok is having with food companies about labeling and marketing, she said: "We encourage our partners not to claim sugar reduction as it has been proven that when consumers see words like 'reduced,' 'healthier,' 'less sugar,' they make the assumption that it will not be as flavorful or tasteful."
*Silica is a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food additive that is widely used in the food industry as everything from an anti-caking agent to an emulsifier (currently the FDA permits the use of silicon dioxide at up to 2% by weight of a food).