Scientist-led start-up nabs top spot of Puratos’ Innovation Challenge with common goal to close the fibre gap

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Puratos and BCD Bioscience share a mission to close the global fibre gap. Pic: GettyImages/BDLM
Puratos and BCD Bioscience share a mission to close the global fibre gap. Pic: GettyImages/BDLM

Related tags Puratos BCD Bioscience fibre gap Barley beta glucan Future Food Tech

California-based BCD Bioscience was crowned the winner of the challenge with its first product – a barley beta-glucan that improves glycaemic response and the associated cardiometabolic effects – that is poised to revolutionise the bakery sector.

Puratos joined forces with Future Food-Tech to launch a search for the innovators developing standout solutions to close the global fibre gap.

Alongside fellow finalists Kaffe Bueno and FitBiomics, BCD Bioscience pitched its grain-based fibre solution to judges and attendees at the Summit, held 22-23 September in London.


BCD Bioscience’s upcycled barley beta-glucan has been specially formulated to help modulate the gut microbiome – unlocking benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing.

Being a prebiotic fibre that is very user-friendly from a formulation perspective for bakery and beverage brands – with no compromise on taste – the biggest gain is being able to target public health on a huge scale.

Innovation for good

“We have a strong belief in connecting the art of baking with the science of gut health and are dedicated to investing in the discovery of solutions that improve human health and nutrition, in a sustainable way,”​ said Paul Baisier, Puratos group chief R&D officer.

“BCD Bioscience has huge potential and fits perfectly with Puratos’ core objective of food innovation for good, fully embracing and encompassing our key pillars of Better Health and Better Planet.

“Its new fibre technology platform has led to the discovery of novel functional fibres with a dual benefit; helping to improve gut health modulation and produce gut health promoting compounds. We look forward to helping them to optimise the nutritional aspect of baked goods, without compromising on taste and texture, through functional and technology-driven solutions.”

As the winner, BCD Bioscience will be invited to pitch again to Sparkalis, Puratos’ FoodTech venture arm. The startup will also attend a two-day internship at Puratos, with access to senior leadership coaching, and Puratos’ R&D capabilities and resources, including sessions at its Innovation Centre in Belgium.

The US company is creating the world’s first library of oligosaccharides in its carbohydrate encyclopaedia, an inhouse resource of between 2,500 and 3,000 natural raw materials, such as fruit, veggies cereals and agri-food side-streams.

Firstly, the polysaccharides (fibre) of these ingredients are broken down into more bioactive fragments, called oligosaccharides, Thereafter, an intensive screening process – high-throughput functional assays, bioinformatic tools and phenotypic screening – enables the scientists to see how they impact the gut microbiome.

Scientist wheat Martin Barraud

Bigger roll-out

“This is a huge accolade for the BCD team and important validation of our vision and ambition, as well as our technology,”​ said Matt Amicucci, cofounder and VP of R&D for BCD Bioscience.

“From the moment we saw the call for applications, we could see the synergies between our business and Puratos’ – and our common determination to close the fibre gap.

“We both know that creating highly nutritious ingredients that taste great is the key to significant improvements in fibre consumption – and therefore benefitting public health on a huge scale.

“Now we’re excited about tapping into Puratos’ formulation expertise and getting our products into enticing ingredients that customers can leverage right away to offer powerful health benefits in foods that are already hugely popular all over the world.”

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