Low-sugar juice processing: GEA Ahaus installs test plant for sugar reduction in juices
Starting in mid-July 2022, GEA and Israeli start-up Better Juice will conduct product tests on behalf of beverage manufacturers looking to lower the sugar content in drinks.
Starting in mid-July 2022, GEA and Israeli start-up Better Juice will conduct product tests on behalf of beverage manufacturers looking to lower the sugar content in drinks. To provide the service, the new GEA Better Juice Sugar Converter Skid, which the industrial systems supplier developed based on the Better Juice process, has been installed at the GEA Test Center in Ahaus, Germany. With this innovative solution for the juice industry, GEA is raising the profile of the Ahaus facility as a key hub for piloting aseptic processing and filling of sensitive foods and beverages.
Test Center provides solutions for unique product requirements
“We can now collaborate with our customers at the Test Center to strike the ideal balance between a sweet note and reduced sugar content,” says Gali Yarom, co-founder and joint CEO of Better Juice. To that end, the microbiologists from Better Juice will join forces with GEA’s specialist engineers to support and guide companies in running trials. The GEA Test Center at Ahaus will provide laboratory services dedicated to testing all important analytical parameters.
“It’s often necessary to initially demystify innovative solutions like the Better Juice process. That’s why it’s all the more important to make the case for the technology with manufacturers in person,” says Sascha Wesely who leads the Non-Alcoholic Beverages business at GEA. “The Ahaus trials help us optimize process efficiency right from the outset. By running scalable tests under real-life conditions, we significantly cut the time to market.”
A scalable, enzymatic solution to removing up to 80 percent of sugar from fresh juices
Thanks to a patented enzymatic process, this is the world’s first solution that naturally reduces the sugar content of fruit drinks by up to 80 percent, without affecting its nutritional value or authentic taste. The juice flows continuously through a bioreactor containing GMO-free, immobilized microorganisms which convert simple sugars into prebiotic, non-digestible molecules that benefit the intestinal flora. As a result, the GEA Better Juice Sugar Converter Skid succeeds in removing up to 80 percent of the sugar in natural fruit juices, concentrates as well as fruit-based mixtures, such as purees. At the end of 2021, the partners won their first commercial order from a company in the U.S. where, once integrated into production, the system will create juices with much less sugar.