Fiber-Based Sugar Launches in the U.S.

When it comes to growing major crops like corn, rice, wheat, and sugar cane, there is often an abundance of raw material left over post-harvest. Referred to as agricultural side streams, this material includes things like husks, leaves, cobs, and stems.

Traditionally, industrial agricultural side streams have not had much use, but upcycling food waste and a focus on a circular economy have garnered a lot of attention in the past few years. Now, more and more companies in the food tech space are upcycling food waste and agricultural byproducts to create something new. One such company is The Supplant Company.

The Supplant Company was founded in 2017 by Dr. Tom Simmons, who holds a Ph.D. in Plant Science. The company upcycles agricultural side streams and uses the fiber from these materials to create its sugar. Stems, stalks, and cobs — parts of the plant that would otherwise go to waste — are the primary ingredients for the sugar.

On a phone call at the end of last week, Simmons said that enzymes produced by fungi are used to break down the long complex chains of sugar found in fibrous materials. From there, the shortened chains can be more easily converted to sugar.

Regular white cane sugar does not contain fiber and has a high glycemic index, which causes blood sugar spikes. Since Supplant’s sugar is made from a base of fiber, it has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, has fewer calories, and is also prebiotic, according to the company.

Sugar obviously provides sweetness, but it can also contribute to the texture of certain foods, like baked goods for example. The Supplant Company said that its sugar behaves the same way as cane sugar in baking, cooking, and caramelizing.

Since there is so much excess raw material leftover from industrial agriculture operations, other companies besides Supplant are also finding uses for side streams. 

Comet Bio is also upcycling farm waste like stalks and husks to create sweeteners and supplements. Kokoboard uses agricultural waste in Asia, including coconut husks, peanut shells, and rice straw, to create construction building boards. 

Nestlé launched a product called Nescafé Nativ Cascara this year, a carbonated soft drink that uses the coffee berry fruit surrounding the coffee bean which is typically discarded.

This past Friday, June 18, Supplant debuted its fiber-based sugar in the U.S. in partnership with Chef Thomas Keller. The sugar was used to make vanilla ice cream and chocolate sprinkles, and was offered at Keller’s California and New York restaurants over the weekend. Supplant is currently working with consumer brands, restaurants, and chefs to expand its product throughout the U.S. market.

Website Link (Article by Ashlen Wilder)

Published by RenSun Lee

Kia ora! Sustainability is at the core of my soul ever since I was a kid. I always strive to finish the food on my plate and live as a minimalist. I love to cut down on waste in order to live sustainably and harmoniously with our planet. This brings me to my passion as a Food Scientist to integrate new technologies into innovative and creative solutions to meet customer demands and market trends and to optimize products and processes for quality, savings and sustainability. To these goals, I have published a Journal on my work on sustainable packaging and patented a new Antimicrobial wash. Nothing is more satisfying than working hard and smart at the workplace and playing hard outside of working hours. I enjoy rejuvenating myself through spending quality time with my two adorable kids and my awesome soul mate and getting close to nature when possible, be it gardening, tramping or going to the beach. I also love to learn about our magnificent universe and how sustainability is working in the grand scheme of things. I strongly believe that Work, Life & Balance is the key to a healthy state of mind, both physically and mentally. I look forward to making a positive difference wherever and whenever I can. Through this Blog, I hope to catalog recent Food Trends and Food Technologies that I come across so that anyone who is interested can have access to it (articles and resources). Please use these resources at your discretion. On top of that, I would also like to share related news and technologies of the future that would help mankind advance towards a Type 1 Civilization. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share and contribute to the “Resources“. I would like to thank you in advance for dropping by. I sincerely hope that you can benefit from the recent Food Trends and Food Technologies I catalogued. Kind regards | Ngā mihi RenSun Lee

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