CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – Bonumose, Inc., a producer of “rare sugars” such as allulose and tagatose, will invest $27.7 million to expand in Albemarle County, Va., Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Oct. 14. Bonumose will move into 36,000 square feet of a former State Farm building to expand production capabilities and relocate its existing research and development lab from North Fork -- a University of Virginia Discovery Park.

Rare sugars are so named because they are found in nature in small quantities. The US Food and Drug Administration in 2019 exempted allulose from being included as a carbohydrate, sugar or added sugar on the Nutrition Facts Label. The FDA may make a similar ruling on tagatose since it is analyzing tagatose and other sugars that are metabolized differently than conventional sugars. Bonumose developed and patented methods for producing rare sugars. They are sourced from plant-based feedstock, specifically starch.

“Virginia, and more specifically, Albemarle County, has been important to Bonumose’s growth to date,” said Ed Rogers, co-founder and chief executive officer of Bonumose. “Several of our employees have been affiliated with the University of Virginia. The Commonwealth’s leading research universities, thriving food production industry, natural beauty and quality of life in central Virginia are second to none. We are blessed with a skilled workforce in this region and can also recruit talented individuals from anywhere in the world. Access to the world-class Port of Virginia was a consideration, too. Due to Bonumose’s business partners in other states and other countries, we have had opportunities to grow outside Virginia, but we are happy with our choice to deepen our roots here at home.”

The Hershey Co., Hershey, Pa., has partnered with ASR Group, West Palm Beach, Fla., to co-lead an equity investment in Bonumose.

“The new Bonumose facility represents a big next step in our commitment to providing consumers better-for-you confection that is both affordable and accessible,” said Kris Meulen, chief development officer for Hershey. “By bringing together the necessary expertise, capabilities and resources all under one roof, scaling transformative uses of rare sugar alternatives will become a reality -- helping to create new jobs and to reach new consumers.”