PETACH TIKVA, ISRAEL — DouxMatok has developed a way to make sugar taste sweeter on human taste receptors, which may allow for sugar reduction of up to 40% in foods and beverages while achieving the same sweet taste level. The company hopes to commercialize its patented sugar reduction system by the end of 2018 after receiving $8.1 million in funding on Sept. 19. Pitango, a venture capital fund in Israel, and existing shareholders led the funding.
|Avraham Baniel, Ph.D., co-founder of DouxMatok|
Avraham Baniel, Ph.D., now 98, led the development of the system. He previously was a consultant for London-based Tate & Lyle, P.L.C. until retiring at 90. He and his son, Eran Baniel, in 2014 co-founded DouxMatok, which means “double sweet” in Hebrew.
The company, based in Israel, takes advantage of the chemical property of silica in its patented system, said Alejandro Marabi, Ph.D., chief technology officer. Sugar is loaded onto silica, which acts as a carrier. The sweetener is 0.3% silica and 99.7% sucrose, Dr. Marabi said. The transfer of the sugar from the food matrix to the taste receptors is more efficient due to having silica as the carrier.
|Eran Baniel, c.e.o. of DouxMatok|
“That does two things,” said Eran Baniel, chief executive officer of DouxMatok. “On the one hand, it makes a small amount of sugar much more effective and efficient in giving you the sweet taste.
“It also lasts longer because the (sweetener) clusters sit there at the receptor, pushing sugars down the receptor, and that ends up in a very satisfying sweetness. It’s not like extremely sweet and then nothing. No, the sweetness lingers a bit, providing you with a real satisfying sugar experience.”
DouxMatok said it uses “sustainable green chemistry principles.” The sugar is based on a non-covalent association of sugar molecules with carriers. No solvents and no aggressive chemistry are used.
“There is no new molecule,” Eran Baniel said. “We don’t synthesize anything. We don’t create new molecules.”
|Liat Cinamon, vice-president of business development for DouxMatok|
DouxMatok will need to focus on two types of partnerships to commercialize the system before the end of 2018, said Liat Cinamon, vice-president of business development. The company seeks to work with food and beverage companies on integrating the DouxMatok system into their products to reduce sugar. The other type of partnership would be working with sugar suppliers, who are able to provide the large commercial quantities of sugar needed for the products of large companies.
“The potential of DouxMatok’s technology is immense,” said Ittai Harel, managing general partner of Pitango. “Having been tested independently by third-party evaluators, as well as by major food manufacturers, the company has proven its ability to achieve desired sweetness level with significantly reduced sugar content.”
DouxMatok already has worked with baked foods, dairy items, chocolate and confectionery items, Dr. Marabi said.
“We are slowly but surely expanding to additional categories,” he said.Enhancing the effects on taste receptors might work in other areas besides sugar, Dr. Marabi said. Enhancing the flavor of natural vanilla, which has risen in price over the past few years, might help companies to reduce the amount needed to produce the desired vanilla taste. Enhancing the flavor of salt also could lead to salt reduction.