Sweet Revolution: Conagen and Sweegen's Game-Changing Partnership in Sugar Reduction

Harnessing biotechnology and taste modulation expertise, Conagen and Sweegen are paving the way for superior-tasting, healthier food and drink options.
Food & Nutrition
April 10, 2024

Biotechnology innovator Conagen and taste-modulation leader Sweegen are reshaping the world of sugar reduction. This partnership heralds a new era in health-conscious sweetening solutions, a response to the global demand for healthier food and beverage choices.

Conagen, known for its pioneering biomanufacturing, and Sweegen, a front-runner in wellness ingredients, have combined their strengths to introduce a range of nature-based sweeteners and taste modulation technologies. These innovative products are designed to meet the growing consumer demand for better-tasting, healthier options.

“Conagen and Sweegen's collaborative efforts are poised to redefine the landscape of sugar reduction in the food and beverage world,” said Conagen’s S.V.P. of Innovation, Casey Lippmeier, PhD. “By combining Conagen's innovation capabilities with Sweegen's commercial success, this partnership unlocks endless possibilities for product innovation and differentiation.”

The partnership is timely, as health-conscious consumers worldwide increasingly seek to limit sugar intake. Governments have also stepped in, implementing sugar taxes and front-of-package labeling to curb sugar consumption. A groundbreaking study by Sweegen’s Sensory and Consumer Insights Division provides deep insights into how consumers react to these front-of-package warning labels on pre-packaged food and beverages.

One of Conagen’s key contributions is its advanced cell-free bioconversion technology, a cornerstone in developing Sweegen's extensive stevia sweetener portfolio. This includes the in-demand Rebaudioside M (Reb M), a breakthrough in taste improvement and sugar replacement.

Sweegen's success is evident in its robust revenue, drawn from providing sugar reduction solutions to top brands in the food and beverage industry. These products are now a common sight on supermarket shelves, highlighting the reach and impact of this collaboration.

Notably, the Conagen-Sweegen partnership has also made strides in sweet proteins, particularly brazzein. Sweegen’s achievement in commercializing brazzein and obtaining Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) marks a significant milestone. Brazzein, unlike traditional non-caloric sweeteners, interacts uniquely with taste receptors to deliver a multidimensional, sugar-like taste without the undesirable aftertaste of older sweeteners.

“The innovation behind brazzein is a testament to Conagen's commitment to pushing the boundaries of ingredient innovation and biomanufacturing. With sweet protein brazzein being up to 2,000 times sweeter than regular sugar, it helps manufacturers use less sugar without compromise on taste," said Sweegen’s Vice President of Global Innovation, Casey McCormick. “Sweet proteins are an exceptional healthy option to both sugar and artificial sweeteners, that also provide the type of solutions consumers want in healthier food and beverage products.”

Looking ahead, Sweegen is gearing up to launch a new series of taste optimization tools. These innovations will be showcased at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2024 expo, slated for July 14-17 in Chicago, IL.

Conagen will be exhibiting at The Global Synthetic Biology Conference, organized by SynBioBeta, May 6-9, booth 229 in San Jose, Calif. Attendees can sample a zero-sugar lychee-flavored functional beverage made with Sweegen’s sweeteners and Sweetensify flavors for taste modulation and L-Theanine. Conagen’s SVP of Innovation, Casey Lippmeier, is scheduled to speak as a panelist on “Fermentation Frontiers: A Dialogue with Visionary Biotech Entrepreneurs,” an exploration of unique approaches and breakthroughs in harnessing the power of microbes for sustainable and innovative solutions. 

This powerful alliance between Conagen and Sweegen marks a transformative phase in the food and beverage industry, focusing on healthier and tastier alternatives to sugar.sify

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