Fooditive expands upcycled sweetener made from apples, pears to the US

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty Images/ golfcphoto
Source: Getty Images/ golfcphoto

Related tags Sweeteners sugar reduction Sugar substitute

Plant-based ingredient company Fooditive is helping US CPG companies develop better-for-you products with its Keto-Fructose, a sweetener that is similar to allulose and provides a fraction of the calories of sugar, company CEO Moayad Abushokhedim told FoodNavigator-USA.

Founded in 2018, Netherlands-based Fooditive offers a range of plant-based food ingredients, including casein, beta carotene, fat replacers, emulsifiers, thickeners, and most recently, Keto-Fructose. Fooditive is currently assessing the GRAS status for Keto-Fructose and plans to submit its dossier to FDA in September.

Keto-Fructose is a monosaccharide sugar that is similar to allulose — a rare sugar that is about 70% sweeter than sugar — and provides a similar taste profile and functionality to sugar, Abushokhedim said. Keto-Fructose can be used in a variety of applications, including beverages, baked goods, chocolate, fruit fillings and glazes.

“Fooditive understands the challenges associated with replacing sugar, and we recognize that the effectiveness of a sugar alternative is not solely measured by taste. This is why our Keto-Fructose sweetener goes beyond replicating the beloved sweetness of sugar. Its additional functionality enables seamless use in applications and reflects our dedication to meeting the real needs of food manufacturers with forward-thinking solutions,” Abushokhedim shared in a press release​.      

Using bioconversion processes to create alternative sweeteners

With the ingredient, Fooditive wanted “to provide everything that sugar does from functionalities to bulking to even preservative effects,” he explained. The company accomplished this by “reverse-engineering sugar” and researching what consumers demand from their sweeteners, he added.   

Fooditive uses a bioconversion fermentation process with a non-GMO bacterial strain to convert apples and pears to the sweetener, Abushokhedim said.

Currently, Fooditive relies on a side stream of apples and pears to create its alternative sweetener but can tap into other raw materials sources as well to scale production, he said.

“When we started actually looking at expanding into the US market, we realized we are able to [extract this product with] any fruit fructose. So, this came with a huge benefit for us because we were able to adapt the product based on the sustainability and accessibility of such raw materials,” he added.

Expanding into the US, as sugar reduction remains important

Fooditive is also replicating the go-to-market strategy that it used in Europe to grow in the US and is seeking manufacturing and distribution partnerships.  In 2021, Fooditive partnered with Swiss food ingredient company Frutco​ to create a sweetener from bananas through a continuous fermentation process.

Fooditive’s expansion comes as demand for lower and no-sugar products remains high in the US.  In its annual Food & Health report, IFIC surveyed more than 3,000 Americans​ and found that 66% said they are limiting their sugar consumption, up from 61% who said the same thing in 2023.

“Companies are trying to work on the sugar reduction; all companies are trying to do their best. And that is what I really love the most because there is not only the demand but there is actually the hard work from the industry,” Abushokhedim said.

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