Tate & Lyle has pledge £4.5m (€6.6m) funding to King's College London for research into how carbohydrates can promote gut health and how some carbs may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome - a project the company expects will inform development of its Enrich ingredients solutions service.
Like many companies in the food ingredients sector, Tate & Lyle is investing in healthy solutions. Its Enrich service was created "in response to increasing consumer demand for great tasting, good value products that enhance healthy lifestyles."
There is already evidence to support low-glycaemic carbohydrates positive effect on metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms associated with heart disease and type II diabetes. And some prebiotics, such as inulin, are already marketed for gut health, based on the accommodating environment they create for 'good' bacteria.
King's College is already active in research in these areas, as well investigations into how obesity during pregnancy may affect an offspring's risk of developing high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome in later life.
The five-year funding has been earmarked to establish the 'Tate & Lyle Health Research Centre', comprising a clinical research facility at St Thomas' hospital and a carbohydrate nutrition research laboratory at the college's Waterloo campus.
Iain Ferguson, the company's chief executive, said that the partnership is particularly relevant to the Enrich programme.
"By combining Tate & Lyle's commercial experience in the food and beverage industry and King's expertise in health and nutrition, we can share knowledge through the dissemination of our research and ultimately bring new technologies to market," he said.
Tate & Lyle and King's College have a relationship dating back to the 1970s, when they collaborated on the development of sweetener brand Splenda Sucralose.