13 Dec 2021 — Israeli food-tech start-up Better Juice has sealed its first commercial deal to bring reduced-sugar juices made with its proprietary enzymatic process to supermarkets. The company has inked an agreement with a major US fruit juice manufacturer for the implementation of its technology.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Eran Blachinsky, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice, says the move comes when the US market is seeking effective sugar reduction solutions. “The F&B corporation that bought our technology will introduce a new product that will answer the growing demand to cut loads of sugar in consumer packaged goods.”
“We received a self-affirmed Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status, so we can officially sell our food tech solution in the US.”
As part of the first commercial order, the fruit drinks manufacturer will produce natural juices with a minimum sugar reduction of 30%. It anticipates the launch of its product in supermarkets by spring 2022.
This is Better Juice’s first official commercial venture in its long-term collaboration with Germany-based GEA Group, a key player in process engineering for the F&B sectors. The companies recently collaborated by scaling sugar reduction technologies.
Under the new venture, GEA will design, manufacture and install the bioreactor that reduces sugars and offer follow-up technical support. Better Juice will produce the microorganisms for the enzymatic process.
Better Juice was granted a patent for its sugar-reduction enzymatic process in Europe. Armed with its recent GRAS status, the company will market its innovative system to F&B manufacturers worldwide.
Better-Juice’s patented enzymatic technology uses all-natural ingredients to convert fructose, glucose, and sucrose sugars into prebiotic and other non-digestible fibers. The juice passes through a continuous flow bioreactor housing non-GMO microorganisms that transform the unwanted sugars into beneficial, non-digestible molecules.
It boasts capabilities to reduce sugar loads by up to 80% while preserving the full complement of vitamins and other nutrients inherent in the fruit.
The process moderates the sweetness of the juice while intensifying the fruit flavor.
Ramping up juice offerings
Better Juice is working closely with other F&B producers worldwide, adds Gali Yarom, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice.
“Some of the key trends that we see in the juice arena are; mixing with vegetables and with unique fruit combinations to create smooth products. Meanwhile, the juice drinks are losing shelf space at leading retailers due to too many sugars in the beverages,” she explains.
“We see more cold press companies selling less processed juices. Fruit-based ice cream producers are reducing sugar content down to the limit of the sugar in the fruit, the same with yogurt and baby food.”
These fruit-based products have a sugar level where they cannot reduce as it comes from the fruit. Better Juice receives requests from all these types of companies. “Our solution can provide added value to all these new trends and challenges,” Yarom shares.
Implementing sugar reduction tech
Blachinsky describes how governments are driving the demand for sugar reduction in juices.
“WHO informed us that they recommend imposing taxes on sugary products, including juice beverages,” he notes. “The juice drinks sales are declining due to the growing awareness that it contains a lot of sugar, and now it will also be more expensive.”
“So ultimately, governments are driving the sugar reduction demand. Juice vending was declining before taxes were added. We estimate that the slope for non-sugar reduced juices will be bigger,” he underscores.
“We expect more companies will implement Better Juice’s technology, and sugar-reduced juices will be available for consumers in the market,” he adds.
Meanwhile, the company is working closely with multiple global F&B companies. increasing our global reach to Europe and Asia Pacific. “We are launching more pilots and major collaborations in 2022, while scaling up to the next level, to a larger unit of approximately 1,500 lit/hr.”
“This new agreement marks an exciting milestone in our mission to get our sugar-reduction technology off the ground, to penetrate the US market, and to expand our global footprint,” continues Blachinsky. “We’ve officially launched our drive to help consumers enjoy reduced sugar in their favorite fruit juices.”
“Scaling up is always a challenge,” adds Yarom. But with GEA’s vast industrial food processing capabilities and global presence, the acceleration of the Better Juice commercialization is much faster and brings added value to the supply chain.”
Last month, Tetra Pak and Sumol+Compal co-developed a fermentation-driven technology that reduces the sugar content in juice following ten years of R&D.
By Elizabeth Green
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