Nutrition Innovation raises US$5m to make 'healthier' sugar

A worker holding up sugar after processing sugarcane in the Coopevictoria mill in Grecia, Costa Rica, on Jan 25, 2019.
A worker holding up sugar after processing sugarcane in the Coopevictoria mill in Grecia, Costa Rica, on Jan 25, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore-based start-up Nutrition Innovation, which produces "healthier" sugar, has raised US$5 million (S$6.8 million) in a Series A round of funding, led by agri-food venture fund VisVires New Protein (VVNP).

This is Singapore-based VVNP's first investment in a Singapore incorporated company.

Other investors include global commodity trading company Enerfo Group, and a UK-based family office, VVNP said.

It added that Nutrition Innovation's proprietary technology enables industrial-scale production of low glycemic, natural cane sugar (Nucane) as a healthier replacement for refined sugar.

"Traditionally, sugar is highly refined, stripped of antioxidants, and can be high in glycemic index (GI)," VVNP said.

As such, food manufacturers have found it challenging to replace refined sugar with "alternative sweetners", which can be expensive and lack the functional properties of sugar, VVNP added.

Utilising its proprietary algorithms and technology, Nutrition Innovation claims that its product can retain the antioxidants and minerals such as calcium and magnesium that naturally occur in cane sugar. Its technology is now being rolled out at a low cost in key sugar-exporting countries including Australia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Most recently, Nutrition Innovation also announced that it has a pipeline of products that can supposedly achieve sugar reduction by up to 70 per cent, while integrating substrates such as protein and fibres that confer additional health benefits.

Matthieu Vermersch, founder and managing partner of VVNP said: "Nutrition Innovation presents an opportunity to overhaul the global sugar market with a healthier product. Food ingredients, like sugar, are characterised by their specific functional properties, making them essential but extremely challenging to replace in food products. The value proposition of Nutrition Innovation is compelling not just for the sugar mills and refineries, but also for food manufacturers and consumers."

Dr David Kannar, founder and chairman of Nutrition Innovation said: "Nutrition Innovation strives to make the world a healthier place by creating natural, scalable, efficient and effective sugar solutions for manufacturers everywhere. This is of vital importance as the world isexperiencing an obesity and diabetes epidemic, which is costing both lives and trillions of dollars."