Israeli food-tech startup cracks the code in cutting back the sugar content in kiddies' treats

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Cambya can be used to lower sugar levels in baked goods, confectionary, cereals and ice cream. Pic: B.T. Sweet
Cambya can be used to lower sugar levels in baked goods, confectionary, cereals and ice cream. Pic: B.T. Sweet

Related tags B.T. Sweet Sweetener sugar reduction HFSS Children chocolate and hazelnut spread Dietary fibre botanicals plant-based

Tel Aviv-based B.T. Sweet, Ltd. has developed a game-changing plant-based sweetening platform, which enables producers to slash the sugar content from breakfast cereals, confectionery and treats like hazelnut and chocolate spread.

According to the UK’s National Health Service, adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars daily. Children between the ages of 7 to 10, on the other hand, should have no more than 24g per day, and children between 4 and 6 years of age should have even less – no more than 19g daily.

Kids, however, are the primary market for birthday cakes, sugary breakfast cereals, cookies filled with cream and chocolate spreads.

“For many, a breakfast or school sandwich is incomplete without chocolate hazelnut spread,”​ said Yoav Gaon, CEO of B.T. Sweet.

“Parents struggle with their kids’ demands for it and have a hard time resisting it themselves.”

Botanical sugar substitute

Enter Cambya, a plant-based, one-to-one drop-in sugar replacer that will help manufacturers meet their sugar-reduction targets (especially those imposed by new regulations)​ without compromising on much loved flavour qualities.

“We succeeded in developing a tasty solution that kids of all ages love simply by switching white sugar with Cambya,”​ added Gaon.

The proprietary formula is based on soluble fibres, monk fruit and select botanicals. Apart from acting as a 1:1 equivalent to sugar both in function and flavour, it also offers a source of naturally derived beneficial fibre.

B.T. Sweet claims Cambya delivers optimal sweetening capacity, without the need for masking agents, and most importantly, does not leave any linger aftertastes.

Take, for instance, the sweet spread much loved by kids, which typically contain up to 50% sucrose. According to a client’s request, the start-up’s food technology team and chief confectioner tested the sweetening platform in several spread formulations with the goal of creating low sugar spread applications that cut the sugar load by at least 50%. The challenge was to perfectly mimic the flavour, colour and texture of the category leading sweet spread, without any change to the mass of the product.

Moreover, since Cambya is equivalent in body and texture to sugar, there is no need for additives to keep the same weight of the product. It also means creating a low-sugar spread without artificial colours, preservatives or added flavourings. While keeping calories down, it also ramps up essential fibre intake.

Passing the ‘yum’ test

In addition to extensive sensory lab testing across all parameters, the start-up trialled the products among children and their parents.

“We received excellent feedback from them. They loved the taste of our Cambya-sweetened hazelnut and chocolate spreads, and we all know kids are hard to fool,”​ said Dagi Pekatch, founder and chairman of B.T. Sweet.

Cambya’s ‘plug and play’ ability gives producers the flexibility to completely transition to B.T. Sweet’s natural sweetening system, or balance it with sugar and other sweeteners according to desired levels without any adjustment to the recipe, thus saving R&D time and money.

B.T. Sweet – founded in 2019 by Pekatch, who was showing early signs of developing type 2 diabetes – has raised seed venture funding, which will enable it to further develop sugar-reduced proof of concepts for food and beverage producers.

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