Oobli partners with Grupo Bimbo to bring sweet proteins to baked goods

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: Oobli
Image Credit: Oobli

Related tags Oobli sweet proteins Grupo bimbo

Biotech company Oobli signed a formal agreement with Grupo Bimbo to supply the baked goods manufacturer with sweet proteins — the first major step in the startup establishing itself as an ingredient provider.

"This is a really good example of the marriage I would hope to find between sweet proteins and large companies, where they can do the products they have always been doing, but do it in a way that ... reduces the negative impact that [comes from] the overconsumption of sugar,” company CEO Ali Wing told FoodNavigator-USA.  

Oobli, Grupo Bimbo reduce sugar with sweet proteins

The two companies started collaborating about a year ago on ways to bring to the baked goods category the biotech Oobli's sweet proteins — which are derived from the oubli fruit and are 2,000-5,000 times sweeter than sugar, Wing explained. 

The first Grupo Bumbo products with the sweet proteins will launch at the end of this year or the start of 2025, Wing said.

Oobli’s regulatory approval for its sweet proteins — five proteins in total — laid the foundation for this partnership, she added. Last month, Oobli received a no-questions letter from the FDA​ for its preparation of brazzein-53 via precision fermentation. 

“We have been working with Grupo Bimbo as long as we were allowed to be, meaning we had regulatory approval for safe-use proteins. And we are excited by the work. We have already tested it in their environment. We have already done manufacturing feasibility testing with them. ... And now we are working on the final products together.”  

While not commenting on specific upcoming releases, Wing shared that the companies experimented with using the proteins in a variety of different baked-good applications, including cookies and rolls. 

“They have a fairly broad set of product categories, and like in most baked things, sugar is in most of them. They are very motivated to keep the great tastes that they become famous for with their customers but start to reduce what has now been labeled as excessive sugar, and a great way to do that is with proteins.” 

‘The bigger opportunity is to help large companies ... rehabilitate their foods’ 

In addition to growing its ingredient business, Oobli will use its branded products to educate consumers and CPG companies about sweet proteins' potential as a sugar alternative, Wing explained. Oobli’s goal always was to work with CPG brands on ways to reduce sugar in their products, she added. 

Oobli's beverages, including teas and a recently announced lemonade, are a proof of concept on how CPG companies can use sweet proteins in drinks, Wing said. Earlier this year, Oobli released a chocolate line​ to demonstrate sweet proteins use “in complex products,” she added. 

“The products that we are making are to help large companies both feel motivated and feel like they are taking less risk to move into it because we have started to build the education pathway for consumers to understand that proteins can be a great way to get sweets. I do not really have an aspiration for Oobli to be a large CPG company. We actually want to build the first branded ingredient for sweetening with proteins.” 

Wing was surprised baked goods was the first category it expanded into, given the multiple roles sugar plays in the category (providing sweetness, bulking, etc.). 

“I consider that the hardest category because it does have a lot of that other work that you have to do. ... Grupo Bimbo and Oobli have figured out how to do such an exciting set of propositions in baking right out of the gates. We are equally excited to bring it to the market and let people start to experience a whole different way to have their sweets.”

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