Healthy Sweets Special Report

DouxMatok: making sugar sweeter and smarter for a more healthy treat

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

DouxMatok is all about making sugar sweeter and smarter - and using less in confectionery products. Pic: DouxMatok
DouxMatok is all about making sugar sweeter and smarter - and using less in confectionery products. Pic: DouxMatok

Related tags: Sugar, sugar alternative, Healthy eating

The sugar industry is continuing to search for solutions to multiple growth challenges including the increased use of artificial sweeteners and a consumer focus on low or sugar-free products. One Israeli startup, DouxMatok, has an innovative solution to both of these problems that benefits consumers and the overall sugar, food, and beverage industries. We talk to Eran Baniel, its CEO and co-founder.

DouxMatok is a global leader in targeted delivery of flavor ingredients, such as sugar and salt, enabling healthier consumption of foods without compromising taste. Its sugar reduction solution maximizes the efficiency of sugar delivery to the mouth’s sweet taste receptors and enhances the perception of sweetness, enabling substantial sugar reduction without compromising taste, mouthfeel, or texture.

The company is based outside Tel Aviv, with production facilities in North America and a presence in Germany. It has been established for six years and currently has 25 employees.

Eran Baniel DouxMatok crop

It’s a completely contradictory phenomenon that we are currently living through and DouxMatok is at epicentre of these trends  -- Eran Baniel, CEO and co-founder, DouxMatok

Baniel says DouxMatok has been working with several food and sugar manufacturers, such as Südzucker AG in Germany, to explore how its technology can help companies maintain profits and sales.

We enable reduction of 40% or more in sugar and salt, while fully retaining the same sugar or salt ‘experience’, so the same taste that consumers are looking for, with lower caloric value, no aftertastes and similar mouthfeel, the same color and texture​,” he says.

COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in sales of indulgent products, which of course includes confectionery, as many turn to sweet treats for comfort during these stressful times.

The sugar industry, today, has two contradictory trends,” says Baniel, “on one hand, people are nervous or worried about their health, and need consolation -  and they consume consolation - more often than not with indulgence products with a lot of sugar​.

On the other hand, we are more and more aware of the fact that next stage, and the second biggest risk, after age, with COVID-19 is obesity​.

It’s a completely contradictory phenomenon that we are currently living through and DouxMatok is at epicentre of these trends -  we are about indulgence, yes, but we are also about making sugar sweeter and smarter so manufacturers can use less of it in their products.​”

The focus on healthy sweets means many innovative companies are striving to make their products ‘sugar-free’ by using alternative processes and nature’s own sweet solution to keep candies tasting wonderfully indulgent without the guilt factor.

Alternative processes

The only sugar reduction that works, especially with children when talking of healthy sweets options, is offering a new sugar experience, not replacing it, but providing it without leading to an over consumption of sugar per se.

DouxMatok has developed a platform of technologies that are more efficient, using a variety of natural fibers and proteins like cleanly extracted pea protein and chickpeas, which are not a sugar replacement, but smarter and sweeter ingredients that can reduce the amount of sugar in sweets.

Baniel says that, with the COVID-19 crisis, taste has become even more prevalent. ​Taste is paramount he says for driving sales, then price, not health reasons.

Sensorial experience

Sugar reduction is never going to be an ingredient, sugar reduction needs to be a system that includes a number of ingredients that would provide for the mouthfeel and color and other sugar functionalities that need to be there when you reduce the sugar component​,” he says.

Israel has adopted a traffic lights system of health warnings on confectionery, so reformulation is an ongoing challenge to companies who wish to make their sweets more healthy.

Baniel says it is not a simple case of reducing sugar content by 40-50%, as consumers are too savvy and will look for the plus as well, for example, what has been added to bulk up the product?

Flavor blocker

Sugar is also a flavor blocker; when there is plenty of sugar in the product you may lose the other flavors, so when you reduce sugar these become the stars of the recipe, which is the method DouxMatok adopts with its new technology.

We are now working with Israeli companies on products that would receive a green traffic light and hopefully, they will start selling their products in supermarkets before new regulations come in in January 2021​,” Baniel says.

He says currently anything containing 13.5% sugar or over is flagged up by a red traffic light – and from next year it will be 10% sugar that gets a red traffic light.

‘Demand explosions’

In anticipation of the current trends and the recent “demand explosions​” caused by the coronavirus, DouxMatok said it has scaled up its operations North America and will do soon in Europe.

In territories where the sugar industry is protected, like the US and Japan, trends are adopted in slower manner. You can always interpret sugar reductions as an enemy, but it's not how we operate – we  work with the sugar guys because that's the cheapest way of making our sugar and we offer them an opportunity to use their skill and experience learned over hundreds of years, only in in a slightly different way, which can bring an added value to their operation​, says Baniel.

Related topics: Ingredients

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