DouxMatok, a food tech company whose first product is a sugar-based, sugar reduction solution called Incredo Sugar, is taking a nod from that and changing its company name to Incredo.
Incredo’s technology binds real cane or beet sugar with trace amounts of a natural carrier that is able to reduce the amount of sugar in foods by between 30% and 50%. This means that people can eat less of it, but still get the same effect of taste, mouthfeel or texture — and without changes to the ingredients.
We last checked in on DouxMatok in 2017 when the Israel-based company was developing that technology. A lot has changed since then.
Ari Melamud took over as CEO from Eron Baniel in 2021. He joined the company with some objectives that included taking the technology to market and kicking off another round of fundraising following Incredo’s Series B round in 2019.
Consider them fulfilled: Incredo Sugar is now commercially available, and along with the name change, the company announced that it raised $30 million in a Series C funding round.
The investment was co-led by DSM Venturing and Sienna Venture Capital. Joining them were a group that included strategic commercial partner Ferrero, new investor Teseo Capital and existing investors Pitango and BlueRed Partners. The company has now raised a total of $60 million.
“Incredo has developed one of the most promising innovations in the food space we’ve seen — a delicious affordable and clean-label product that can reduce the sugar in foods without additives or changes to taste,” said Isabelle Amiel-Azoulai, managing partner at Sienna Venture Capital, in a written statement. “Incredo has everything in the right place for Incredo Sugar to appear in products around the world.”
There are plenty of sugar replacements in the market currently. However, they all aren’t created equal, according to Melamud, who noted that the World Health Organization released new guidelines this month “against the use of non-sugar sweeteners to control body weight or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases” due to not showing long-term benefits.
Aside from health values, one of the biggest problems with sugar alternatives is that each has a different sweetness profile, which tends to alter the taste of whatever food it is in, he said.
“Consumers are very clear in their message back to the brands that the taste is what they don’t like,” Melamud said. “The second thing is they want a clean label. We’re the only solution actually based on sugar, and that is giving us the advantages of taste and clean label.”
Incredo is among a handful of companies developing healthier versions of sugar alternatives, including Supplant, MycoTechnology, Sensient and Joywell Foods, which notably has been in this sector for nearly a decade.
Last year was Incredo’s first commercial year, which included securing partnerships with Batory Foods and Blommer Chocolate Co. Melamud declined to go into specifics about revenue, but did say, “we basically hit our target” and that there are “aggressive growth plans” for the next two years.
The company launched in Europe earlier this year and there are plans to do the same in Asia later in 2023. Plans also call for new and increased availability across Europe, Israel and the U.S., where Incredo has built a headquarters in Austin. The North American efforts are led by Kelly Thompson, who joined the company in 2022 after previously serving in R&D roles for companies like Kraft Foods.
Melamud plans to invest the new funding largely into Incredo’s R&D team, which is working on improving and launching new versions of its product, and commercialization efforts for Incredo Sugar.
Meanwhile, though Incredo is commercially available, it could take two years or more for big food manufacturers to sign on and change their recipes to include its sugar product. However, the company is trying to get in front of that by “currently running hundreds of projects in the U.S.,” with some of those big players, Melamud said.
‘We need to remember that this is a slow category,” Melamud said. “Some of those projects will mature this year with bigger amounts next year and even bigger amounts in 2025. We do see a lot of interest in the market, which shows the need is there.”