NRGylose, an isomaltulose sweetener, is digested slower than sucrose, resulting in a low glycemic response but the same caloric value as sugar. The energy is released over a longer period of time, and so increases in blood sugar levels remain moderate as do increases in insulin levels. "This feature makes NRGylose an essential sweetener for diabetics and pre-diabetics," said Ronny Hacham, VP business development and marketing. "It also has great benefit in sport nutrition. A marathon runner can maintain a constant blood-sugar level more easily." NRGylose, a bulk-sweetener carbohydrate, is made by fermenting the refined sugar sucrose using a non-GMO bacterial strain. The Israeli manufacturer of ingredients and fine chemicals has particular expertise in fermentation processes for developing its ingredients. Sweeteners with a low GI have become increasingly popular as sugar alternatives for sufferers of diabetes mellitus or hypoglycaemia, and ingredients companies have been meeting the demand. Earlier this year, Wild launched a fruit-based sweetener with a low GI, while Cargill developed an ingredient, derived from sucrose and maltose, designed to bring slow energy release and a low glycaemic response. However, isomaltulose goes one step further with the added feature of being tooth-friendly. Because isomaltulose is not readily fermented by the bacteria in the mouth, it avoids the creation of acids that harm tooth enamel. This makes the sweetener a good choice for the growing number of health-conscious consumers. Hacham told FoodNavigator.com that the sweetener will serve a niche market. He said: "This sweetener is very specialised and such an ingredient is only made by a limited number of producers." German food ingredients company Palatinit will be a strong competitor for Gadot as it has also this year developed and received authorisation for a isomaltulose sweetener with the same benefits. NRGylose, which is available worldwide from today, can be used in a wide range of products, including soft drinks, energy and sports drinks, sweets and chocolate bars, cereals and products for diabetics. The sweetener is an example of Gadot's attempts to tap into the functional foods market and broaden its functional ingredients line. Hacham said: "The functional ingredients and health foods markets are the fastest growing sectors in the industry. More and more consumers want products that taste good but have added health benefits." According to Euromonitor, the European functional foods market is valued at $7.41bn (€5.05bn) with a growth of 11 per cent anticipated by 2011. Furthermore, the global diabetes market is growing as the condition becomes an increasing problem. It currently affects 170m people worldwide, and the WHO predicts there will be 300m diabetics by 2025. Gadot provides ingredients for dietary supplements, food and beverages. It specialises in sweeteners and citrate salts, focusing on the development of products with a high bioavailability. The company is based in Israel, but has this year begun a joint venture to build a new citric acid plant in China in the hope that it will yield significant cost advantages thanks to the fermentation technology of partner Jiangsu Nuobei Biochemical, while also doubling its existing capacity.