Halifax maker of sugar substitutes ZeroIN Foods, which last year received funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is one of six companies to win startup accelerator MassChallenge Switzerland’s Sustainable Food Solutions Challenge.

The challenge aims to find startups with proven sustainable food technologies to collaborate with MassChallenge’s business partners. ZeroIN beat out about 520 applicants worldwide.

Founded by Dalhousie University biochemist Edgar Sosa, ZeroIN is developing a next-generation sugar substitute made from carbohydrates — sugars — but which cannot actually be digested by the body and therefore cannot contribute to obesity or other health problems. Sosa has previously said his product more accurately replicates the experience of eating sugar than do existing fake sugar products. 

“This prestigious award acknowledges our innovative approach to revolutionizing the sweetener industry by replacing sugar with our proprietary Sweet Fiber,” wrote Sosa on LinkedIn. “Sugar overload is one of the main contributors to chronic diseases globally. Our mission to commercialize ZeroIN’s Sweet Fiber is more critical than ever to feed our increasing population sustainably.”

Last years’s ACOA funding was aimed at helping ZeroIN establish a research and development lab and pursuing intellectual property protection.