Beverage makers have become increasingly interested in finding ways to reduce the quantities of nutritive sweeteners in their products without affecting taste, in an effort to tap into consumer demand for drinks with healthier nutrition profiles. And Senomyx has been developing flavor ingredients that could help them achieve this.
Senomyx had a similar collaborative deal with The Coca-Cola Company for the past eight years for the discovery, development and commercialization of new flavor ingredients resulting from its sweet taste technology. However, the two companies failed to reach an agreement on the terms of a proposed new contract in June and have since stopped working together.
According to this new agreement, PepsiCo will have exclusive rights to Senomyx’s sweet flavor ingredients developed under the collaboration for use in soft drinks. Senomyx will receive an upfront payment of $30m, $7.5m of which was paid in June as negotiations commenced. The firm will also be entitled to $32m worth of payments for research projects from PepsiCo over the next four years.
PepsiCo's chief scientific officer Mehmood Khan said: "The real challenge is to create products that not only are healthier but also taste great, and Senomyx has unique technologies that will allow us to improve the nutritional profile of our products without sacrificing taste.”
Khan added that the company hopes the collaboration will help it to reduce added sugar by 25 percent “in key brands in key markets” over the next decade.
CEO of Senomyx Kent Snyder said: "We are particularly excited about expanding our research efforts for the discovery of enhancers of sweeteners such as sucrose and fructose and the identification of new natural high-potency sweeteners that would allow Senomyx to provide PepsiCo with a broad spectrum of sweet-taste options."
Senomyx recently received regulatory approval for a sweetness enhancer called S6973, which the company said can be used to reduce the amount of sugar in specific drinks such as instant coffee and tea by 50 percent, while maintaining the flavor of sugar.
The company’s development of such ingredients is a result of years of research into sweet taste receptors in the mouth. Senomyx said that S6973 works by making these receptors more efficient, thereby giving the impression of greater sweetness without increasing sweetener quantity.