Israeli food-tech company DouxMatok has secured US$22 million in a series B funding round for its sugar reduction solution that enables a reduction of “sugar with sugar.” By increasing the efficiency of sugar delivery to the tongue’s sweet taste receptors, the technology allows food products to be made with 40 percent less sugar without compromising taste, mouthfeel or texture. The investment hopes to allow DouxMatok to scale up its “breakthrough technological platform” globally, as well as explore the technology’s applicability to other flavor profiles, such as salt.
Eran Baniel, DouxMatok CEO and Co-Founder tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “The funding round seeks to support the company’s vision to provide efficient flavor delivery without compromising taste through five key pillars:”
- Faster scale-up to get more sugars available for NPDs and launch product sales in Europe and North America.
- Further support food product developments and provide more scalable recipe re-balancing services and advance expertise in new food applications. This includes building of state-of-the-art application labs in the relevant markets.
- Accelerate research and development to optimize sugar reduction and broaden the company’s offerings, addressing key consumer needs.
- Launch new marketing campaign.
- Apply the proprietary flavor delivery technology to other flavor profiles such as salt.
“The task of providing a sugar reduction solution is not only important for the consumer, but also for food corporations that rely on sugar to create the world’s top-selling products. We’re looking forward to supporting DouxMarok’s team in scaling their breakthrough technological platform globally, the only one that enables a reduction of sugar with sugar,” says Yishai Klein, Managing Partner of BlueRed Partners, a fund concentrated on investing in “disruptive, early and growth-stage technology” companies and Series B lead investor.
“We now have the opportunity to speed up commercialization so that we can lead the quest for reducing added sugars while providing consumers with the tastes they love and want. Our new and existing investors make it possible for the company to speed up growth so as to meet the huge market demand we’re experiencing,” says Baniel.
Led by Singapore based BlueRed Partners, the funding round includes strategic investors, such as Südzucker AG, Europe’s largest sugar company; Royal DSM, a multinational active in science-based nutrition; and Singha Ventures, a corporate venture fund of Singha Corporation, a Thai food & beverage conglomerate. Existing shareholders Pitango Venture Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners, as well as new investors BtoV Partners, OurCrowd, and La Maison have also participated in the round.
A technology that reduces “sugar with sugar”
Twenty patents have been granted for DouxMatok’s technology and product development took over six years. The R&D team has included scientists with specializations spanning material sciences, organic and green chemistry, sensory sciences, drug delivery and food science. Foods made with DouxMatok sugars were found to be perceived as sweet as a full sugar reference, as well as being often being preferred in blind tastings in terms of both preference and purchase intention.
Baniel continues, “the biggest challenge – and opportunity – is to rebalance recipes so that the removed sugars are replaced by nutritional fibers and/or proteins, in order to complement the reduction of sugars with added nutritional values.”
DouxMatok’s approach is to not disrupt the industry or the consumer. Our technology will allow the industry to continue to make the same indulgent products, with the same taste, and 40 percent less sugar, while consumers will not need to change their habits – everyone will benefit from a much improved nutritional profile.”
A large-scale production and sales of the product are enabled by the funding, as the company commercializes in Europe and then North America and Asia. DouxMatok sugar is expected to be available in initial commercial quantities in the last quarter of 2019, following joint industrial manufacturing with Südzucker AG. Additionally, DouxMatok is currently engaging in various collaborations with multiple food companies in order to reformulate popular products to have reduced sugar quantities.
“We’ve successfully completed butter biscuits and white cake during European Institute of Innovation and Technology based projects with several leading European companies and Reading University,” says Baniel.
The sugar is DouxMatok’s first product developed under its proprietary efficient flavor delivery platform, and the company intends to expand the platform to include further ingredients and flavors, including salt.
“So far, we have selectively focused our efforts on baked goods, such as biscuits and cakes; chocolate; spreads; sugar confectionery, like gummies; and cereal bars,” the company says.
Sugar reduction continues to drive NPD
This funding comes at a time when consumers are increasingly interested in reducing the level of sugar in their diets. According to an Innova Consumer Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey (2018), nearly seven out of ten consumers across the countries surveyed (US, UK, France, Germany, China and Brazil) have reduced their sugar intake. This is particularly so among the over 55 age group, with consumers in France and Brazil most likely to be reducing sugar in their diet.
“The global need to reduce sugar intake for health and lifestyle reasons is one of the most pressing issues faced by food manufacturers. Pressure from governments, medical bodies and consumers to reduce public sugar intake is at an all-time high, with obesity, diabetes and heart disease on the rise. Increasingly health-savvy customers have largely rejected the current artificial sugar substitutes, and the food industry needs a natural product that can improve the healthiness of their much-loved existing recipes without compromising on flavor or texture,” Baniel notes.
“I’ve read publications trying to claim that sugars are the new tobacco. Nothing could be less true than this; nature thrives on sugar chains, as do plants. Sugar is energy, mouthfeel, a color – a world with no sugar is not realistic. Resisting the temptation to consume too much of it is what we at DouxMatok succeed in doing,” they conclude.