Within the framework of the “Natural Life Excellence Network 2020” strategic innovation alliance (NatLifE 2020), which is co-ordinated by BRAIN and co-funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the bioeconomy pioneer BRAIN and Martin Luther University at Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have researched the link between sugar consumption and the prevalence of dental decay, parodontitis and the loss of teeth. The study, which was recently published in the International Journal of Dental Research, shows that globally accrued dental treatment costs due to excessive sugar consumption amount to USD 172 billion annually. In Germany, these costs run up to EUR 17.2 billion, i.e. approximately EUR 210 per German citizen per year, which means that Germany bears more than ten per cent of these costs.
The study was headed by Dr Toni Meier from the Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences at Halle-Wittenberg University. In the study, BRAIN was represented by Dr Martin Langer, Executive Vice President Corporate Development, and Dr Katja Riedel, co-coordinator of the NatLifE 2020 innovation alliance and Programme Manager Nutrition System Products at BRAIN.
Says the study’s co-author, Dr Katja Riedel, in view of Germany’s first Sugar Reduction Summit, held in Berlin in late June 2017, as well as the national reduction strategy for salt, sugar, and fat: “Sugar is omnipresent in today’s modern society and excessive consumption may lead to dental decay as well as other diseases. On average, every German consumes 90 grams of sugar each day. By contrast, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum of 50 grams of sugar per day.“
The NatLifE 2020 innovation alliance, which was launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), aims at developing a new generation of sustainably produced and biologically active ingredients for foodstuffs and cosmetics with the help of biotechnology and an understanding of biological systems, thus making a contribution to improving nutrition, health and human well-being.
Innovation in Bioeconomy
Between 2013 and 2015, the alliance also served to create a first basis for the Human Taste Cell Screening (HTC) technology. For the first time, HTC allows for the study and development of different research approaches for taste modulation of lab-grown human taste cells.
Explains Dr Martin Langer: “Bringing down nutrition-induced disease burdens also requires innovative technological solutions next to a balanced mix of educational work and nutritional policy in order to cover the growing demand for alternative and healthy sweeteners. As a bioeconomy company, we are called upon in this respect, and we rise to the call by delivering concrete solutions thanks to our HTC technology and through our industrial partnership called DOLCE.“
Globally increasing market potential
The DOLCE partnership, which aims to develop a new generation of natural sweeteners, was launched by BRAIN AG, the French company Roquette Frères, and AnalytiCon Discovery GmbH in August 2016. Since then, companies from several large food categories, such as breakfast cereals, non-alcoholic drinks, dairy drinks, or snacks, have joined the program.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), some 172 millions of tons of sugar were processed worldwide in 2016 alone. As per LMC International’s 2015 Global Sugar Report, this number equals 80 per cent of the total sweetener market, which also includes high fructose corn syrup (HFCS, ~10%), chemical sweeteners (~9%) or stevia (~1%). The overall sales volume of the global sweetener market adds up to some USD 64 billion.
The soft drink industry is one major buyer of sugar. According to a Euromonitor study from 2017, around 190 billion litres of beverages containing an average of 100 grams of sugar per litre are bottled in this segment every year, equalling about 19 millions of tons sugar equivalents per year with a potential annual market value for natural non-caloric sugar substitutes of approximately USD 6 billion.
Link to the Study
- Meier, T., Deumelandt, P., Christen, O., Stangl, G. I., Riedel, K., & Langer, M. (2017): Global Burden of Sugar-Related Dental Diseases in 168 Countries and Corresponding Health Care Costs. Journal of Dental Research (in press) DOI: 10.1177/0022034517708315: http://www.nutrition-impacts.org/media/2017%20-%20Meier%20et%20al%20-%20Sugar%20Burden.pdf
Press Release by Halle-Wittenberg University (German only)