The platform revolves around its proprietary formulations which contains active ingredients from berries and cereals with the ability to lower GI spikes.
AuroraFood said its technology aims to transforms sweet indulgences into healthier and diabetic-friendly food choices, and has applications in the bakery, confectionery, and beverage industries.
The start-up was founded in 2020 by Dr Jing Gao and Dr Xiaoxuan Jin who have research experience in bakery products as well as functional foods.
“We focused on diabetes because it is a huge global problem. About 463 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes,” said Gao.
While there is no cure for diabetes, its symptoms can be managed through diet, medication, and lifestyle.
“The food industry is putting a lot of effort in trying to reduce or replace sugar in foods and we see this particularly in beverages with many new launches,” she added.
“However, in industries like bakery, this is not an option because sugar not only provides taste, but also gives colour and structure.
“If we just take out the sugar or replace the sugar as we did in beverages, it doesn't really work. So, we think our technology is a promising solution for this problem.”
Typically, carbohydrates such as table sugar and flour are broken down by enzymes in the body, digested to form glucose, which is then absorbed and causes a blood sugar spike.
AuroraFood’s solution is natural plant extracts from cereals and berries.
The active ingredients are polyphenols, which interact with the digestive enzymes to slow down its activity so glucose will be released slower, and can suppress sugar spike.
There is some evidence that polyphenols can inhibit starch digesting enzymes, delaying glucose absorption and lowering the GI of some foods.
Because it does not reduce or replace the sugar, there is minimal impact on the original recipe, with no compromise on taste and texture.
The end product will not only be lower in GI, but also higher in antioxidants from the polyphenols.
“What we are doing differently is having a GI lowering technology platform to innovate and transform existing products to healthier options,” said Jin.
The patented formulation is in a powder form, which can be easily incorporated into bakery applications such as cake, waffle, cookie or bread.
The actual composition of active ingredients is not disclosed.
In an early trial, the firm tested AuroraFood-formulated food on healthy subjects and found a reduction in blood glucose levels, which also translated to a 20% reduction in glycaemic index.
Effectiveness will depend on individual foods and their composition.
Such products would benefit diabetic and prediabetic patients who wants to control blood spikes, health-conscious consumers who are looking for low GI options, and people wishing to control their weight, since a slower sugar release increases satiation and prevents craving.
AuroraFood is working on a B2B model, hoping to collaborate with baking mix manufacturers, bakeries and cafes, and in the future food manufacturers for confectionary and snacks.
The firm is set to launch its first product, JoieJoy Baking Premix for waffles mix.
“Maybe in two years, we would like to expand our product categories to focus on confectionery and beverage, healthy ice cream and beverages. There is also potential to reformulate snacks and energy bars,” Gao said.
Besides its propriety formulation, the platform is able to assist customers in their R&D.
“Instead of offering them ingredients only, we are offering them a platform to help them screen and select the active ingredients based on the food or beverage matrix,” Jin said.
“We will help to develop and optimise the formulations and also the processing conditions to ensure the polyphenols will not degrade after baking. Lastly, we also the evaluate and substantiate the efficacy of end products, that there is really a low GI effect in their final product.”
AuroraFood recently exhibited at the Innovfest conference, organised by the National University of Singapore Enterprise.