Circular Economy



A healthier, sustainable sugar substitute made from agricultural waste

Team Lead

Javier Larragoiti

Solution Pitch

The Problem

Sugar is a problem for all people involved. Those who farm it are unfairly paid and, in Mexico, often live in extreme poverty. For those who consume it, sugar exacerbates health challenges such as diabetes and obesity, and existing substitutes are expensive, bad-tasting, unhealthy in other ways—or all three.

The Solution

Xilinat patented a biotechnological fermentation process to transform agricultural waste into xylitol, a natural, low-calorie sugar substitute. It looks and tastes like sugar, while protecting teeth against cavities—making it an ideal product for consumers with sugar-related health issues, such as diabetes or obesity. 

Though xylitol production has historically involved an expensive series of chemical reactions, Xilinat’s approach is far cheaper. Because its production uses waste that would otherwise accumulate or be incinerated, Xilinat’s xylitol is also a sustainable and completely natural product. Additionally, buying agricultural waste from impoverished Mexican farmers enhances their local economies and reduces carbon-heavy incineration practices.

Market Opportunity

By 2022, the global sugar market is expected to reach $100 billion, the global high-intensity sweeteners market is expected to reach $2.95 billion, and the xylitol market is expected to reach $1 billion. Xylitol offers a healthier alternative to sugar, and with an equal sweetness level, it is a better-tasting alternative to chemical sweeteners, which can be 300 times as sweet as sugar. With economies of scale and value from its health benefits, Xilinat is positioned to capture a significant share of the global sugar market.

Partnership Goals

Xilinat currently seeks:

  • Resources to scale its operations and facilities;
  • Advice on how to improve and refine its technological processes;
  • Partnerships with major xylitol users; and
  • Branding and marketing expertise to sell products to larger companies.

Organization Highlights

Some of Xilinat’s notable achievements include:

Existing Partnerships

Xilinat currently partners with:

  • Tecnológico de Monterrey, a top private university in Mexico for R&D and scale-up support; and
  • Three companies in the food industry, which use xylitol as an ingredient in their new formulations. 


For every ton of xylitol produced, Xilinat recycles seven tons of agricultural waste and avoids generating six tons of CO2.

Solver Team

Organization Type:
For Profit

Mexico City, Mexico


Working in:


Solution Team:


A Healthy, Sustainable Sugar Substitute

Solver Xilinat, a healthier, sustainable sugar substitute made from agricultural waste, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2019 for being selected as a Circular Economy Solver.

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