Bonumose to manufacture tagatose sugar in North America11 Jan 2022
Following regulatory approval in both the U.S. and Canada, ingredient company Bonumose is on schedule to open its first commercial production facility to produce tagatose, a low-glycemic, rare sugar, in the spring of 2022.
Tagatose is a known natural sugar that is present in some fruits and grains as well as in the cocoa tree. However, although the company says it meets many consumer demands for sugar substitutes — a clean, no-aftertaste flavor profile, a negligible glycemic index, 60% fewer calories than sucrose, and manufacturing functionalities essential to sugar — this rare sucrose alternative comes with a high price tag.
Using a non-dairy, plant-based starch and enzymes alongside a proprietary process, Bonumose says it was able to reduce the cost of this natural sugar alternative. But this novel production technique required administrative approval in order to commercialize Bonumose's tagatose despite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted tagatose generally recognized as safe status 20 years ago.
Both the FDA and Health Canada approved this novel method, giving the company the green light to begin commercial production; this is the first time that tagatose will be sold in Canada. Already, the ingredients company says it is working toward submitting applications for regulatory approval in “major markets” worldwide.
With desirable traits and a sweetness level that is 92% of sugar, alleviating the cost restrictions that burden this sugar alternative has the possibility to dramatically increase the demand for this sweetener. As a substitute, tagatose is particularly appealing to manufacturers since it offers many of the qualities that sugar is known for but that substitutes lack, such as bulking, mouthfeel and caramelization.
"A low-cost tagatose supply is highly sought after by leading, global food companies for a wide variety of applications that meet sugar-reduction targets in confectionery, ready-to-eat cereal, ice cream, yogurt, beverages, meal replacement drinks, cookies, bars and other popular categories," said Ed Rogers, CEO of Bonumose. "Tagatose's unique features enable it to meet calorie-reduction targets without compromising taste or texture while working within companies' existing food production lines."
While Bonumose is producing an alternative sweetener with covetable qualities, it is not alone in its mission to expand its footprint in the market and has drummed up support from enterprises with deep pockets. Last February, American Sugar Refining, Inc., a member of ASR Group, and Hershey were among the investors that provided the ingredients manufacturer with $27.1 million in funding specifically “to produce and commercialize lower-cost, plant-based alternative sweeteners tagatose.”
Not only has the ASR Group offered funds to Bonumose, but ASR Group is Bonumose's exclusive distribution partner in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Western Europe. In addition, the world’s largest cane sugar refiner has successfully tested tagatose in formulations to meet manufacturers' sugar reduction targets without sacrificing taste or function, which indicates that an affordable sugar alternative that closely mimics the real deal has the potential to explode in popularity. The ASR Group appears to think this is the case.
"Using these insights, we forecast demand may already outstrip the production capacity at Bonumose's first production plant, and we will likely need to scale up as soon as possible," Jim Kappas, ASR Group's Vice President of Specialty Ingredients said in a release.
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