Alex Woo

September 19, 2020
Global Food Forums Speaker

Alex Woo, Ph.D., CEO and Founder, W2O Food Innovation
and a member of Global Food Forums’ Advisory Board

ALEX WOO HEADSHOTAlex Woo is the founder and CEO for W2O, a food technology firm for the past ten years. He specializes in applying niche expertise in taste and smell neuroscience and plant-based sweeteners & flavors to create “Better Food.”

Previous positions include Innovation Director, Global Science & Technology, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Mars); Vice President Research and Regulatory Affairs with Degussa Food Ingredients (now part of Kerry Ingredients); and, Manager of Product Guidance and Director of R&D at the Starbucks Coffee Company. Earlier positions included Vice President R&D at Griffith Laboratories as well as various R&D leadership positions at Kraft Foods, Inc. and PepsiCo, Inc.

 Global Food Forums Presentations by Speaker

2020 Sweetener Systems Conference Presentation (scheduled)
Recent Research on Clean Label Sweetness Modulators: Theory & Practicalities

The Gold Standard in sugar reduction is a sweetener system that performs identically to sucrose. Even as the number of alternative sweeteners increases, taste remains a key challenge. Based on firsthand research, this presentation will provide advice on use of clean Label modulators with a focus on stevia- and monk fruit-derived high potency sweeteners as well as certain sugars. Results presented will generally be for beverage-type platforms. The presentation will also touch on reported findings by others regarding potential effectiveness of these modulators with erythritol, allulose and artificial high potency sweeteners like sucralose.

2018 Sweetener Systems Conference Presentation
3rd Generation Stevia Extracts: Neuroscience, Ingredient Technologies & Food Applications

Second generation stevia extracts were all about high purity Rebaudioside-A (RA), the higher the purity the better the taste. Farm-based 3rd generation stevia extracts are the newer two and and three-way blends of Rebaudiosides (types A, B, C, D, and M) for even more sugar-like taste but at higher cost. Alternatively, fermentation or enzymology-based stevia already co-exist in 2018. Enzymatically modified stevia extracts are sweet taste enhancers that can be used as part of the “Stacking” strategy, together with monk fruit and erythritol, for clean label sugar reduction. This presentation provides insights into practical and economical approaches to decrease sugar through the use of emerging ingredients and optional ingredient blends.

2016 Sweetener Systems Trends & Technologies Conference Presentation
Simply Sweet:  Updates on How to Make Foods and Beverages Sweeter with Sight, Smell, Sound and Touch

Recent advances in understanding how humans use a multisensory approach in perceiving tastes points to new ways to enhance the perception of sweetness in foods. A look at current and emerging research on how smell, touch, sight and sound impact sweetness will be presented. Attendees will leave more knowledgeable about sensory integration and what it may mean for new ways to formulate foods and beverages, as well as practical insights in how to create sensory pleasing reduced sugar foods.

2014 Weight Management Technologies Seminar Presentation Description:
Sugar Reduction:  How to Formulate with Less Sugar while Maintaining Sugar-like Properties

Despite their enviable position as “gold standards” and their technical advantages, caloric sweeteners have a fundamental drawback when used in weight control products… they contribute calories. Whether the formulation goal is to reduce overall calories or just lower the Glycemic Index of a food or beverage, a sophisticated approach is needed when the finished product’s quality is to be maximized. This presentation reviews the technical challenges of such product development efforts and presents carefully considered solutions including the use of emerging ingredients and recent advances in taste physiology and neuroscience.

2013 Clean Label Conference
Taste Physiology and Considerations in Sweetener Choices

The desire for sweetness is inborn in humans. The subject of label-friendly sweetness enhancement in food and beverage formulations is complex. An update will be given on the emerging understanding of taste perception and how it can assist in the design of clean-flavored, simple products. Insights will be provided into the use of sweetener and taste enhancer ingredients from thaumatin to stevia, from cane sugar to fruit concentrates and plant extracts.