With or without COVID-19 and its indulgent-foods influence, America’s craving for all things sweet isn’t going to wane anytime soon.
That’s not to suggest that sugar reduction isn’t a major issue, given the prevalence of obesity and other related health issues.
For the most part, natural products like stevia and monk fruit have been at the forefront in the decades-long quest for sugar substitutes.
Recent product introductions include SweetLeaf’s Better Than Sugar stevia blend from Wisdom Natural Brands. SweetLeaf also has a foot in the monk fruit space—as seen in this recent video that informs viewers a traditional can of soda contains “almost ten teaspoons of sugar.”
When it comes to sweet baked goods, manufacturers have increasingly focused on cleaner labeling and the provision of products for special diets, according to research provider Innova Market Insights. “But they cannot afford to sacrifice taste and indulgence—as these are still the single most important drivers to purchase,” Innova wrote in an August 2020 report.
Into this fray comes Israel-based, food-ingredient company DouxMatok Ltd.—Doux means “sweet” in French, ditto for Matok in Hebrew—and its Incredo brand of beet- and cane-derived sugar crafted with patented technology.
Without getting too deep into the laboratory weeds, DouxMatok’s crystals are structured to enter saliva faster than regular sugar. Given this heightened solubility, Incredo also is delivered in larger amounts to sweet taste receptors in the tongue. That "allows for 30%-50% reduction in sugar depending on the food application," according to the company.
Last month, Incredo made its U.S. debut with two sweet spreads marketed D2C and accompanied by a “Spread The Happiness” initiative to benefit the nonprofit organization Common Thread.
In this interview, edited for brevity and clarity, Shiri Ranot, DouxMatok’s global director of marketing & brand partnerships, talks about the company’s early steps in Israel and its goal of partnering with U.S. food companies.
CPG FYI: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food product labels to include the amount of added sugars. Is that the case in Israel?
Ranot: The latest Israel government regulations require that all high-sugar products have a front-of-pack “red label” to warn consumers. What we’ve seen in terms of motivation from Israeli companies is [they want] to remove that red sticker, because it’s a really big point of differentiation. But it’s very hard for them to do that and launch good products that are sweet but don’t have the red sticker.
CPG FYI: What does the distribution of baked goods containing Incredo look like in Israel?
Ranot: We are in hundreds of stores. The biggest pharmacy chain—Super Pharma—is using it in its own products to avoid that red sticker.
CPG FYI: What’s the goal of Spread The Happiness?
Ranot: We wanted to let consumers experience what products made with Incredo sugar taste like. Our U.S. speak is taste. If you think about sugar alternatives, there’s aftertaste—a lingering sweetness or some bitterness depending on the product.
CPG FYI: The spreads launch is a limited-time offer. Why is that?
Ranot: We haven’t made a commitment to continue to produce the products. What we want is to partner with companies that are interested in our formulas, like bakers and CPG companies.
CPG FYI: Do you have any U.S. retail distribution?
Ranot: We have been accepted into Pop Up Grocer in Chicago.
CPG FYI: You’ve spread the word to consumers on social media and have engaged with influencers as well. What about on the B2B side?
Ranot: We have an awareness campaign on LinkedIn, where we’re targeting the industry, like food and beverage professionals.