How the ‘Good-For-You’ Sugar Company is Disrupting the Food Industry
CEO Ed Rogers to speak at Upcoming Larta GAIN & AURI Hosted Event
Imagine a guilt-free, sustainable, all-natural sugar derived from plants that can be used to bake, has the ability to caramelize, smoothly blends into all of your foods, and even assists with digestion. This product, in fact, exists, and is on its way to consumers within the next two years. Bonumose, a company founded in 2016 that uses enzymatic technology to produce tagatose, has a vision to bring their healthy traditional-sugar alternative to consumers and food industries worldwide, and they’re assuredly on their way.
“Despite all the things that we disagree on in this country, there generally is agreement on wanting to eat healthier food and loving sweet things,” says Bonumose’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Ed Rogers, who has more than 25 years of entrepreneurial business experience, and previously co-founded an animal food technology company.
Rogers will be attending the upcoming Agriculture Utilization Research Institute (AURI) and Larta Institute Global Ag Innovation Network (GAIN) event ‘You Are What You Eat: The Nexus of Food & Health’ to share Bonumose’s latest news, including updates on its closing of a $3.3 million Series A investment round, which was announced this January. Additionally, he is excited to announce that the company’s U.S. patent for “Enzymatic Production of D-Tagatose,” was confirmed in September.
Along with funding, the company prioritizes establishing strategic connections, something that Larta Institute was able to help facilitate in Bonumose’s earlier stages. In 2017, the company participated in the annual Ag Innovation Showcase, where they were able to network with other innovators in the agriculture and food industries, as well as secure funding from the St. Louis-based iSelect Fund, who is part of Bonumose’s Series A investment round.
“There is a universal desire to eat healthier food, along with a universal desire for sweet things. Many people feel traditional sugar alternatives fall short in one way or another - either they are artificial, have a bad taste, or lack the regular properties of sugar,” he says. “Alternatives also tend to be expensive, and up to 20 times higher in price than sugar.”
Bonumose’s tagatose sugar was created by bringing Dr. Daniel Wichelecki’s, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder, technology and vision to life. By discovering natural enzymes and utilizing them for his desired functions, he was able to invent a novel enzymatic pathway for low-cost tagatose production. Tagatose occurs in nature, and usually is made from the galactose portion of lactose. Bonumose instead uses starch from non-GMO foods, such as potatoes, cassava, and yellow peas, and enzymatically converts the starch into high yields of tagatose.
“Every food and beverage company we have talked to is aware of tagatose, but the problem is the current high price and the regulatory treatment” says Rogers. “Currently, the FDA defines sugar as all monosaccharides and disaccharides, and we are making an effort to have tagatose exempted from that definition because it has positive health benefits. And we are solving the cost problem.”
The additional unique benefits of tagatose include its identical taste to sugar, but the body actually does not recognize it as a sugar during digestion, thus making it healthy, according to Rogers. It does not raise blood sugar, and is good for your teeth and overall gut health, which gives the product enormous market opportunity.
“We are now scaling up to make commercial quantities in the near future,” says Rogers. Its first commercial facility will be in the few thousand metric tons per year range. The company is now in the process of designing the engineering, and working with strategic investors who will support the scale-up process.
“I’m looking forward to telling our story, interacting with others in the food industry and learning from them,” says Rogers. “Given our positive experience with Larta, and its events, in the past, this event will certainly be worthwhile to participate in.”
Follow Bonumose on Twitter and LinkedIn at @bonumose and listen to Ed in our “Convergence” Podcast here.