Start-up cuts 70% sugar with sweetener-free substitute: ‘It’s a plug-and-play solution’
Excessive sugar consumption is known to increase the risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In an effort to improve public health, policymakers are taking action.
Across the globe, an influx of voluntary commitments and mandatory legislations are rolling out to reduce sugar intake in diets. In Israel, food products high in sugar, saturated fat, and salt are required to carry a ‘red label’. In Chile, HFSS warning labels also exist, in black.
In Europe, at least 10 countries have implemented sugar taxes or levies, and in the UK, new HFSS (referring to products high in fat, salt and sugar) legislation – restricting junk food marking and volume-based price promotions – is similarly encouraging reformulation efforts.
Yet reformulation efforts are hindered by the sugar replacement solutions currently on the market, according to Niv Ben-Ami, co-founder of Israeli start-up Resugar. “When it comes to replacing sugar, you need the sweetness profile of sucrose – which humans have got used to over many years – as well as the functional properties that sugar provides to food.”
These functional properties impact a food product’s volume, caramelisation, moisture content, even the freezing point of ice cream and frozen confectionery products. “These, and many other functional properties, are associated with sugar. Sweeteners lack these functionalities.”
Resugar has developed a ‘plug-and-play’ sugar substitute capable of reducing sugar content by 70%. And importantly, Ben-Ami stressed, it is completely free of sweeteners.
What is Resugar’s sugar replacement made from?
Resugar’s formulation is ‘completely different’ to conventional sugar substitutes. And yet, it is still able to offer that ‘unique sweetness profile’ consumers expect, we were told.
But if it doesn’t contain sweeteners, what is it in Resugar’s offering that makes it sweet? The solution is made up of 30% sucrose, which means that if a food formulator swaps out all its sugar for Resugar’s product, a maximum 70% sugar reduction can be achieved.
The sucrose is combined with a proprietary combination of ‘natural flavours’ which, when combined with the sucrose, ‘enhances its sweetness by almost three times’, Ben-Ami told this publication at Future Food-Tech in London. “Our technology is that combination, that synergy.”
Without revealing too much about which ‘natural flavours’ Resugar is using, the co-founder said, ‘it’s a natural compound, and everything accords with GRAS regulation’. “We use a combination of several ingredients, in very small amounts. The natural flavours only make up 5% of the total solution.”
Dietary fibres are also incorporated into the solution. Some ‘carbohydrate by-products’ are also present, as well as moisture content.
The result is a final product formulation that tastes and performs the same as the original, we were told. “Swapping out sugar 1:1 with our solution gives you the same taste, the same texture, and the same volume – it has the same functional properties.”
Partnerships with Froneri and a leading dairy manufacturer in Israel
As Resugar’s product is not a novel food, it can be commercialised without pre-market authorisation. On an ingredients list, the solution would feature ‘very simply’ as fibres, sugar, and natural flavours.
This is what now features on Froneri’s new low-calorie ice cream bars. By replacing regular sugar with Resugar’s alternative, the company has achieved a dramatic reduction in sugar content of 70%.
Working with Froneri in Israel demonstrated Resugar’s solution is truly ‘plug-and-play’, suggested the start-up’s co-founder. “We started collaborating with Froneri about a year ago. We provided them with samples, they tried it, and couldn’t believe the results,” recalled Ben-Ami.
Resugar is also partnering with a leading food manufacturer in Israel whose dairy division accounts for 70% of the country’s market.
The start-up is also collaborating with ‘several dozen’ of the largest food and beverage companies globally in dairy, baking, ice creams, and gummies, and is looking forward to disclosing these ‘household names’ at a later date.