Functional confectionery: Gum to cut sugar cravings in children
21 Jun 2022 --- Sweet Victory has created a prototype of a Gymenna sylvestre-infused chewing gum designed to abate sugar cravings in children. Expanding its portfolio from an adult version of the gum, the Israeli food-tech company says the flavorful botanical-infused gum is “crave-stifling” and works within two minutes by blocking sugar receptors on the tongue.
Sweet Victory developed this gum as a fun and easy way to help consumers reduce sugar consumption, overcoming the challenge of masking the botanical’s bitterness. It worked in collaboration with Givaudan.
“The consumer will be parents that want to take back control over their family’s sugar intake. In our point of view, the benefit is very clear: eating less sweets will lead to a better nutrition and lifestyle,” Gitit Lahav, co-founder of Sweet Victory, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Sweet Victory has already designed a mint version of the gum for adults and is planning to extend its innovation pipeline.
“We are already working on other applications such as hard candies and gummies,” discloses Lahav. “But we are remaining in the field of functional confectionery.”
The science behind the sweets
The process of killing the craving works very quickly, but the effects can last up to two hours. Sweet foods or beverages will taste bland and may even taste sour during this time.
“The biggest hurdle was, without a doubt, the taste. The active ingredient in our product is a bitter herb,” she continues.
Lahav explains how the children’s solution is different from the adult version. In the adult-geared chewing gum, the company was able to mask that bitterness by using intense mint flavors. But that solution would not work for children.
“Kids do not usually like minty flavors, so we had to come up with new solutions for that issue while developing a tasty fruity flavor gum that would appeal to their palate. For that, Givaudan, the flavor experts, helped us by adding some cutting-edging technologies to our formulation.”
Not only was it hard to find a flavor profile that children would enjoy, but the start-up also says that it took months for the development team to create a child-safe tailored dose. In the end, the developers went with tutti-frutti, a flavor it states children around the world ranked as one of their top three favorite flavors.
Benefits of reduced cravings
A recent study, cited by Sweet Victory and presented in this year’s European Congress on Obesity, states that no less than 80% of seven-year-olds’ caloric sugar consumption exceeds the 10% recommended daily allowance. The study included 2,336 children from the UK, making it the largest dataset on the diet of young children.
Lahav further explains that Sweet Victory is currently conducting its own clinical trials in a hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel. The trials are testing the efficacy of the chewing gum on adults with diabetes.
“The results will be available, hopefully, by the end of the year,” she says. “But much research has been done since the 1970s, showing the effect of the Gymnema as a herb that blocks the receptors for sweet taste and reduces sugar cravings.”
Furthermore, a recent survey by Innova Market Insights revealed that 73% of consumers from at least ten different countries try to limit or reduce the use of products and ingredients, like sugar, which they consider to be harmful.
The right product at the right time
Sugar reduction solutions also featured heavily during January’s ISM and Pro Sweets trade show.
Lahav expresses her own excitement to be operating in this growing market. “As a start-up company, there are so many things to look forward to,” she says. “Selling worldwide our current mint gum that is already on the shelves in a few countries, building our team developing more amazing products.”
By William Bradford Nichols
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