Works like sugar, metabolized like fiber? The Supplant Company unveils upcycled “fiber sugars”
From allulose to erythritol to xylitol, food manufacturers now have a growing number of table sugar alternatives to choose from, according to The bumping societyFounder Dr Tom Simmons, a Cambridge University scholar who realized that his postdoctoral research in plant science could have some pretty interesting real-world applications.
But the substitutes available are often expensive, difficult to scale, or lack all of the properties we know and love from sucrose (browning, caramelization, etc.), said Simmons, who has filed a series of patents. around a technology using enzymes to break down polysaccharides. (long chains of sugars) in the fibrous plant material of corn cobs and wheat straw or oat husks into oligosaccharides and sugars, which are then combined to create what he calls “sugar from fiber “.
Works like a sugar, metabolized more like a prebiotic fiber?
Fiber bumping sugars work just like sucrose in food applications, chocolate cakes, have about one-third the sweetness of sucrose and just under half the calories, and can be used to replace all or part of the sugar in any given application, depending on the level of sweetness you’re looking for, said Simmons, who has raised $ 26 million to date from investors such as Coatue, EQT, Felicis, Khosla and Mantaray.
For nutrition labeling purposes, it’s 1.8 calories per gram and is classified as a sugar and a fiber, with the fiber portion of the blend meeting the FDA’s new definition of dietary fiber, said Simmons, who is considering (initially) to increase the technology in the US market, where the company has already developed a GRAS determination (which it plans to send to the FDA) and has garnered the most interest and investment.
“It is metabolized like fibers and reaches the large intestine where part passes through you and part is metabolized by intestinal bacteria, so it is a prebiotic effect”he told FoodNavigator-USA.
As for labeling, he asserted, The product could be described in the list of ingredients as: “Sugars from fibers”.
He added: “We’ve had discussions with the FDA, lawyers, and regulatory consultants, and it’s an interesting time because the FDA is rethinking all of this. [how some carbohydrates and sugars are labeled on the nutrition facts panel if they are metabolized differently than sucrose] because the reality is that not all sugars are created equal.
How are Supplant “fiber-based sugars” made?
The Supplant Company (formerly known as Cambridge Glycoscience) can use a variety of recycled raw materials or agricultural waste / side streams ranging from wheat straw to oat husks to corn cobs to pulp, which are primarily composed of cellulose and hemicellulose, says founder and CEO Dr. Tom Simmons, who has been accepted into the great Y Combineracceleration program in 2018.
Depending on the source material, this is then ground and pretreated in some way (usually thermally) in order to “loosen it up” so that Simmons’ enzymes can get to work, he says. These effectively cut the long chains of sugars into shorter chains of oligosaccharides and simpler sugars, which Supplant then combines.
The company has filed for a series of patents, Simmons says, but the “the strongest element of intellectual property is in fact the composition of the ingredient itself; it is the specific composition that allows us for the first time to faithfully imitate the properties of sucrose in food products.
10 grams of Fiber Supplant Sugars contain 18 calories (compared to 40 for regular table sugar), 10 grams of carbohydrate, 1.5 grams of fiber, and 4.5 grams of sugar for nutrition labeling purposes, the company claims , who claims that sugar is also low. glycemic:
“A blood glucose study has shown that the glycemic response of supplant sugars from fiber is less than 15% of the glycemic response to glucose. “
The go-to-market strategy
The Supplant Co (parent company, Supplant Inc, based in the US) has samples with several manufacturers and sees itself as both a supplier of b2b brand ingredients and potentially a CPG brand selling products in the sugar market. retail, said Simmons, who recently partnered with Chef Thomas Keller, Which has added ice cream, cookies and other products using sugars Supplant from fiber to the menus of three of its upscale restaurants (the French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery in California, and Per Se in New York ).
“We are not going to license the technology to a manufacturer and sit on the royalties”, Simmons said.
“We will handle this thing ourselves, although we will be working with co-manufacturers on the production. [the process doesn’t require proprietary equipment]. “
In addition to the obvious appeal of a low glycemic index ingredient that behaves like sugar but has fewer calories and may also have prebiotic effects, the upcycling angle and scalability of the production process has helped attract customers. investors and to excite potential customers, Simmons said.
“Were using the most abundant bio-renewable resource on the planet [as a feedstock] and we think it can really scale globally in ways that other ingredients really can’t, so we can really mainstream and create a whole new space in the $ 110 billion sugars and sweeteners market. of dollars.
“Plant fibers are the most abundant source of sugars in the natural world. Using the fiber-rich parts of crops that are not currently found in our diet will be crucial for the future of our agricultural ecosystem. ”