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Bonumose to partner with Hershey to develop reduced- and zero-sugar products in Virginia facility


October 14, 2021
By Bakers Journal

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Company CEO and co-founder with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Photo courtesy Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Bonumose, Inc. will partner with Hershey to research and develop reduced- or zero-sugar chocolate products. The company will invest $27.7 million to expand in Albemarle County, Virginia.

Bonumose will move into 36,000 square feet of the former State Farm building to expand production capabilities and relocate its existing research and development lab from North Fork—a University of Virginia Discovery Park. Virginia successfully competed with Florida, Idaho, and North Dakota for the project, which will create 64 new jobs.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the growth of Bonumose as it expands production and collaborates with other valued partners in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “This innovative company continues to advance our food and beverage processing industries. We look forward to a long and productive partnership with the company.”

Bonumose developed and patented the methods for continuous production of high-purity rare sugars, such as tagatose and allulose. These sugars come from plant-based feedstock, specifically starch. Earlier this year, The Hershey Company announced it would grow its confections offerings using Bonumose’s products.

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The company was founded in 2016 in Charlottesville. It is supported by investors and collaborators across the world. Its cost-effective process makes the use of rare sugars possible. Bonumose uses the starch byproduct left over from its supply chain partners’ food production to develop the sugar. The company is also developing enzyme solutions for dietary supplements, crop protection, animal nutrition, and other industries.

“Virginia, and more specifically, Albemarle County, has been important to Bonumose’s growth to date,” said Bonumose chief executive officer and co-founder Ed Rogers. “Several of our employees have been affiliated with the University of Virginia. The Commonwealth’s leading research universities, thriving food production industry, natural beauty, and quality of life in Central Virginia are second-to-none. We are blessed with a skilled workforce in this region and can also recruit talented individuals from anywhere in the world. Access to the world-class Port of Virginia was a consideration, too. Due to Bonumose’s business partners in other states and other countries, we have had opportunities to grow outside Virginia, but we are happy with our choice to deepen our roots here at home.”

“The new Bonumose facility represents a big next step in our commitment to providing consumers better-for-you confection that is both affordable and accessible,” said The Hershey Company Chief Development Officer Kris Meulen. “By bringing together the necessary expertise, capabilities, and resources all under one roof, scaling transformative uses of rare sugar alternatives will become a reality–helping to create new jobs and to reach new consumers.”