The intake of excess sugar in our diets is an epidemic that has no season or one that lies stealthily in refrigerators or airplane tray tables. Healthy Food America notes that the United States leads the world in the consumption of added sugars and ranks third in the world in sales of sugary drinks. All this sugar has consequences – the U.S. has one of the highest overall obesity rates in the world and the highest rate of childhood obesity, not to mention heart disease and diabetes.
Several attempts to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame and Saccharin have been mildly effective, asking consumers to give up taste to unsweetened diets. Natural options such as agave, monk fruit, and Stevia round out this list focusing on substitution rather than the complex approach of manipulating a sugar molecule. Enter Incredo (formerly DouxMatok), an Israeli company with an idea that maximizes the properties of sugar but limits its impact on the body.
Born out of necessity in World War II, the story is a part of history led by Prof. Avraham Baniel, a renowned chemist in Israel. The best retelling of the journey from concept to realization can be found in an episode of the Netflix series “Explained” (Season Three, Episode 1). In short, Prof. Beniel discovered that by adding starch to sugar crystals, consumers could use less sugar with the same taste. Fast forward to 2001 and then to 2013 and 2014, and Baniel brought his earlier discovery back to life with a significant improvement. Using a small “carrier” with the active ingredient (sugar) as part of the refinery process results in a cluster of sugars rather than a new molecule. These clusters will then linger on the tongue, optimizing flavor delivery.
The Israeli food tech startup recently announced the close of its latest (and most significant) fundraising round to date, coinciding with the unveiling of a new company name, Incredo LTD, based on the company’s signature product Incredo® Sugar. In an interview with The Spoon, company CEO Ari Melamud discussed how Incredo is poised to create a healthier sugary experience.
Using a chocolate bar with 13 grams of sugar as an example, Melamud said Incredo could reduce the sugar content by 30 percent to 50%, which could be great news for those with diabetes and other related conditions.
“It changes from one application to another and even from one recipe to another because every recipe is very different depending on the other ingredients inside,” Melamud said. “So, on average, we can say we can drop 40%. And again, our technology is not a diabetes solution. But we’re a mass market solution to help everybody prevent becoming diabetic in many ways. Because if you look at the numbers and statistics on a global average, we’re consuming about three or four times more sugar than recommended. If we can drop it by 50%, 40 to 50%, that’s a big difference for a lot of people preventing people from becoming diabetic actually. This is our main mission and our main tasks.”
Even in its earliest stage, DouxMatok has developed significant commercial partnerships with Better Nutritionals, a supplement manufacturer; Batory Foods, a specialty ingredient company; and Blommer Chocolate Company, North America’s largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier.
If the company’s Incredo Sugar has one Achilles heel, it will not work with liquid (preventing use in beverages) because it quickly dissolves, bypassing the product’s lingering taste experience. After hearing DouxMatok’s story, the issues with liquid are small hurdles that could be rapidly overcome.