A son has dedicated his university studies to create an acceptable alternative to sugar to help his father and millions of other Mexicans.
Javier Larragoiti had just started a degree in chemical engineering in Mexico City when his father was diagnosed with diabetes. He said: “It’s only when you know someone with this sickness that you realise how common it is and how sugar intake plays a huge role,” he says. “My dad tried to use stevia and sucralose, just hated the taste, and kept cheating on his diet.”
Larragoiti then began experimenting with xylitol but started working on a cheaper process to make it more accessible. His business, Xilinat, buys waste from 13 local farmers, producing 1 tonne of the product a year. His invention was recently awarded a prestigious $310,000 Chivas Venture prize award, which will enable him to industrialise and scale-up production tenfold.