Summing it up briefly, the new ingredient is “a platform with one enzyme which can convert sucrose and maltose into polymers or even oligomers,” explained evoxx technologies CEO Thorsten Eggert earlier this month at the SupplySide West 2016 show in Las Vegas.
What makes the ingredient special is how it slowly digests and releases energy. “It releases glucose over a longer period of time and by that avoiding those sharp sugar peaks in the blood,” Eggert added.
But Eggert added that evoxx is focusing to market its oligosaccharide product as an energy source, not a sweetener.
“Our focus is on sport nutrition,” said CTO Volker Landschuetze. “We see it as an energy supply, and therefore more in the energy drink area, sports drink area, but what is very interesting is this oligomer has not to be declared as a sugar, so therefore you can state that the product is free of sugar when our ingredient is in.”
Premiering in the US
The company was formed when two German firms, Aevotis and Evocatal, merged in August of this year, Thorsten said, providing the expertise needed—Aevotis in carbohydrates and Evocatal in enzymes—to produce the novel oligomer.
The German company’s plan is to launch in the US first, said Landschuetze, because “the FDA is more straightforward.” Self-affirmed GRAS to FDA standards has already been conducted, but the company says it is still working on their letter of no objection.
A direct competitor to the oligosaccharide is Cargill’s sucromalt, Landschuetze added, but he pointed out two advantages over competing ingredients: It is purer because the enzymatic process removes fructose, with only “the oligo as the active ingredient, and nothing else,” and evoxx’s enzymes can be produced cheaper.
Clean Label: What’s in a name?
In addition to sports nutrition, the team behind evoxx believes their carbohydrate, which has a mild sweet taste, is ideal for carbonated beverages. “This can be used in carbonated beverages and acidic beverages, therefore we also see the main application in drinks because it has advantages [of] its stability and [manufacturers can] claim sugar-free,” Thorsten said.
But by entering the mainstream US beverage market, the company is also facing a consumer-base demanding ‘clean label’ or the perception of clean label, for example buying products with ingredients they can pronounce. So how will the name ‘oligosaccharide’ in an ingredients list fare?
“I think there’s some room for defining the name of it, and it’s still not final, what name to put on the label,” said Landschuetze. “Oligosaccharide is probably difficult to explain to a consumer, so we have to find a common name.”