FoodTech start-up Sweet Victory, Ltd., collaborated with Givaudan, SA to create a flavorful botanical-infused chewing gum for children. The prototype gum is designed to stop sugary treat cravings in their tracks. Sweet Victory already designed the innovative gum for adults but gum for kids set more challenges, and Givaudan helped the startup to create a supplement that fits kids’ taste buds.
Sweet Victory crave-stifling chewing gum works within two minutes by blocking the sugar receptors on the tongue. The effect can last up to two hours, and during that time sweet foods or beverages that normally excite the senses will taste bland or even sour. The impulse for a sweets binge can be abated, lasting even longer than the physical effect—up to two hours. Sweet Victory gum was designed to help consumers to reduce sugar intake in an easy and fun way. The product for kids is still in the prototype stage, but the company expects to launch it by the end of 2022.
The findings of a new study were presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity in Maastricht, Netherlands. It included 2,336 children from the UK, making it the largest dietary dataset of young children. Parents were asked to complete three-day eating diaries for their children when they were toddlers (21 months old) and again when they were seven years old. The study, reported in the May 1, 2022 issue of The Telegraph revealed at least 80% of seven year olds exceeded the recommended limit of 10% of daily calories from free sugars.
Development of a children’s version of the product turned out to be a massive process. The senior manager of product development at Givaudan and Sweet Victory’s development team took months to create a totally new product with a child-safe, tailored dosage of the active ingredient, Gymenma sylvestre. This traditional herb has been used for more than 2,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine. Receiving a modern twist in this new gum, the new product boasts a tutti-frutti flavor—ranked one of the three top favorite sweet flavors among children worldwide. The collaboration’s cutting-edge technology enabled creation of a functional, sugar-free chewing gum that kids love to chew.
The start-up already conducted trials with children to estimate the impact of this innovative gum on kids in Israel, US and France. The results demonstrated that children enjoyed the gum but could not eat confectionery after chewing it due to the change in their receptors.
“The biggest challenge in developing this gum for kids was to create boldly fruit-flavored chewing gum to overcome the bitterness of the herb gymnema,” explains Shimrit Lev, co-founder of Sweet Victory. “In the gum designed for adults we used strong mint, but in the kid’s product we had to come up with other solutions.”
“By producing a product so attractive to children that, regardless of its effect of blocking sweet taste, it can become a legitimate substitute for other sweets, simply because it’s delicious,” adds Gitit Lahav, co-founder of Sweet Victory. “We turned to Givaudan to help us with that challenge. As a flavor expert, using advanced technologies, they helped us refine the product and develop a very flavorful, yet highly effective product—a sweet treat that can change eating behavior and help parents control their kids’ daily sugar consumption.”
“Kicking the sugar ‘habit’ is a real struggle for most of us, adds Lev. “As a mom of two, I have to take control of their diet, especially when it comes to sugar intake. Kids love candies, sweet foods, and soft drinks but too much can be a health hazard.”
Sweet Victory won the first prize in the foodTech track at the fifth Coller Competition for start-ups of the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University. They also completed a safe fund round of US$1.5 million from the CPT Capital, UK.