Denmark's MD Foods, recently merged with Arla Foods, has received a US patent for the use of the sweetener tagatose in food and beverages.
US Patent No 6,432,464 concerns the use of tagatose in synergistic combination with high intensity sweeteners, improving the taste of the ingredient.
At the same time, Arla also reported it had received a Notice of Acceptance on an Australian patent application covering prebiotic effects of tagatose.
The synergy of tagatose markedly improves the taste and mouthfeel of soft drinks, and eliminates the unpleasant aftertaste associated with high intensity sweeteners. This will open the soft drink market to tagatose.
The prebiotic effect claims that tagatose in foods, dietary health supplements, nutrition bars and other health-promoting food products improves digestion. It also promotes a healthier bacterial composition in the colon.
Gilbert Levin, CEO of Spherix , which has licenced Arla to produce tagatose, said: "These developments significantly enlarge the tagatose market, increasing the royalties we anticipate when the product is introduced this coming summer, as Arla has announced."