These startups are racing to find sugar’s holy grail

Technology congregates around unsolved problems, and there is no bigger unsolved problem than sugar in the food world right now.

Sensient in Milwaukee looks for properties in natural ingredients like tree roots or bark that can either enhance the sweetness of sugar so formulators can use less of it, or mask the unwanted tastes in sugar alternatives to make them taste like the real stuff. Bill Smith, Sensient’s global director of sweet beverage R&D and innovation, says the goal is to find something that won’t turn a product into a “complex cocktail.” You “run the risk of introducing a problem when you’re trying to simplify,” he adds.

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