The firm – which recently struck a deal with Canadian sugar refiner Rogers Sugar to manufacture commercial quantities of Incredo for North American food companies – is selling the spreads direct to consumer in a two-jar bundle (Hazelnut Cocoa and Dark Cocoa Salted Caramel).
The hazelnut cocoa spread - which offers 30% of the daily recommended fiber intake via chicory root fiber - contains 8g added sugar (vs 19g for Nutella hazelnut spread) and 8g fiber (vs 1g for Nutella) and is designed to show consumers “just how delicious a product made with Incredo sugar can be, and validate that taste, texture, and sweetness does not have to mean compromising on nutrition,” DouxMatok VP Sales North America Lorraine Niba told FoodNavigator-USA.
However, "the long-term goal remains to focus on our B2B customers," she said.
Looks, tastes, and behaves like sugar
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 30-50%.
While Incredo 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 DouxMatok.
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).
When Incredo 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 under development, said Jim Schulok, VP of Applications: “We expect future versions to be available within the next 6-12 months which will allow our partners additional options based on the particular fit for the application they’re exploring.”
Key applications for Incredo sugar: Bakery, confectionery, chocolate spreads and coatings
According to Niba, the DouxMatok team is “currently engaged with an array of sweet snack manufacturers, bakery, confectionery, food service providers, and chocolatiers to incorporate Incredo Sugar in their products in North America.
“DouxMatok currently works with various bakery partners in Israel who use Incredo Sugar in their products, including Maison Kayser, Piece of Cake, Danny & Galit, and Matzot Aviv, and we have partnerships and projects in the works in the US and in Europe and are targeting partnerships in those markets in the coming year. In the short time Jim and I have been with DouxMatok, we have garnered great interest from bakery, confectionery and manufacturers of chocolate spreads and coatings.”
Sugar reduction to shout about… or by stealth?
So are customers keen to use the Incredo logo on consumer packaging (‘intel inside’) and actively promote the fact that they are using a special sugar, or are they generally preferring a more stealthy approach?
“Our customers have varying approaches and different strategies,” said Niba. “We are committed to being transparent with both individuals and potential partners surrounding the use and benefits of sugar reduction in the immediate and long term.
“With this limited consumer launch and our first few partner launches in the US, it will be important to establish awareness for the Incredo Sugar brand so consumers can soon make the synonymous connection between reduction of sugar and the same great taste and better nutrition in products they know and love. We aim to partner with brands that also value that transparency and want to include educational information about Incredo Sugar on their product packaging.”
DouxMatok's technology platform - which is backed by 24 granted patents with a further 40 pending - has had particular success in chocolate, chocolate spreads, baked goods and soft confectionery such as vitamin gummies.
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.
*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).