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The Israeli food tech startup Better Juice can now use its microorganisms to reduce the glucose, fructose, and sucrose of up to 250 million liters of fruit juice every year.

Better Juice uses natural enzymes to convert sugars in juice to non-digestible compounds, like dietary fibers. The technology can reduce up to 80 percent of the simple sugar content in fruit juices and fruit-based condiments without affecting the naturally occurring nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Its manufacturing plant, which is the first of its kind to place its patented enzymes in beverages, has now transitioned to full commercial production, and will be able to reduce the sugar in up to 250 million liters of fruit juices each year.

To read the full article from Ariel Grossman, visit nocamels.com .

New facility aligns with ESG principles, enables scale-up of start-up’s fruit juice sugar-reducing tech

Sugar-reduction foodTech start-up Better-Juice, Ltd. launches its first full-capacity manufacturing plant setting the wheels in motion for full commercial production of its proprietary sugar-reducing immobilised enzymes. The new facility will enable the company to fulfill current commissions from juice producers globally, as well as respond to anticipated new demands.

The groundbreaking technology developed by the Israeli start-up produces proprietary beads composed of non-GMO microorganisms that naturally convert the juice’s composition of fruit sugars including sucrose, glucose and fructose into better-for-you prebiotic and other non-digestible fibers.

The new site—located in the Nes Ziona science park south of Tel Aviv—is replete with commercial-scale equipment, including an industrial fermenter and industrial immobilisation processor. The specialised equipment is used for growing and harvesting the beaded microorganisms used in producing Better Juice’s immobilised sugar-reducing enzymes. The site also houses pilot labs and the company’s new headquarters.

The new plant has a production capacity to support sugar-reduction of 250 million liters of juice per year. Better Juice has entered into commitments with a number of juice companies to reduce the sugar loads in various fruit juices, including apple, orange, and pineapple juices.

Better Juice’s technology can reduce up to 80 % of the simple sugar content in fruit juices and fruit-based condiments without any degradation of naturally occurring nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It does not dilute the product in a way, maintaining the body and full flavour of the juice and only gently reducing the sweetness. Better Juice’s groundbreaking technology decreases the naturally occurring simple sugar loads in a versatile range of products, including juices, jams, yoghurts, ice creams, sorbets, and more, to the food and beverages manufacturers desired levels.

“This move marks a major leap forward in our commercialisation efforts,” enthuses Gali Yarom, Co-Founder and Co-CEO. “We project that the new plant will accommodate our production needs for the next four years. As interest and demand in our technology continue to flourish in the global fruit juice sphere, we will expand our production capabilities outside of Israel as well.” Wired magazine recently rated Better Juice as one on of the 10 most promising start-ups in Israel.

Better Juice’s facility and operations also maintain high alignment to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) principles. The biodegradable polymer beads are rechanneled to livestock feed after being used in the production phase, minimising waste. The bioreactors, which have a 20-year lifespan, can be controlled remotely, reducing the company’s need for travel and its subsequent carbon footprint. Only a small amount of energy is required to activate the bioreactors. On a social level, the company boasts a 50 % female workforce and assists manufacturers of fruit-based products to comply with the various “sugar tax” regulations in the regions where they operate.

“We had to design and construct specialised systems from scratch to support our unique production processes while taking environmental considerations into account and adhering to the strictest requirements for waste treatment, water recycling, and energy efficiency,” notes Henry Elkoby, Chief Engineer of Better Juice.

“Better Juice was founded with the vision of promoting the overall well-being of people globally,” asserts Eran Blachinsky, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice. “The realisation that also naturally squeezed fruit juice can harbor high quantities of simple sugar is what sparked the creation of the Better Juice technology,” adds Blachinsky. “It has been an incredible journey seeing our concept evolve into fruition, and onto the global market so that more people around the world can enjoy the full flavour and nutritional benefits of fruit juices.”

Better Juice was founded in 2018 as one of the first start-ups to be nurtured by The Kitchen FoodTech Hub. “Better Juice brings a new hope for juice manufacturers and consumers, by reversing the perception of natural fruit juices as overly sugary products and turning juices into better-for-you beverages,” says Amir Zaidman, Chief Business Officer of The Kitchen Hub and a Better Juice board member. “The company offers a truly better juice product by reducing the sugars while maintaining their natural profile of vitamins, minerals and fibers.”

Better Juice partners with GEA and US juice maker to commercialise reduced-sugar juices.

FoodTech start-up Better Juice, Ltd. sealed its first commercial deal to bring reduced-sugar juices one step closer to supermarket beverage aisles. The company inked an agreement with a major US fruit juice manufacturer for commercial installment of its sugar-reduction technology.

This is Better Juice’s first official commercial venture in its long-term collaboration with GEA Group, AG, Germany, a world leader in process engineering for the food and beverage sectors. The two companies joined forces in a strategic move to scale up and promote the sugar-reduction technology throughout the global beverage market.

Start-up receives patent and a self-affirmed GRAS approval

Better Juice was granted a patent for its sugar-reduction enzymatic process in Europe. Armed with recent self-affirmed GRAS status, the company is out to market its innovative system to food and beverage manufacturers worldwide. “These achievements, together with GEA’s knowhow and cutting-edge technology, will open doors to work more closely with food and beverage companies,” explains Eran Blachinsky, PhD, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice.

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 bio-reactor housing non-GMO microorganism 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 flavour.

Sugar-reduced juices will line the shelves next year

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. According to the first commercial order, the fruit drinks manufacturer will produce natural juices with a minimum sugar reduction of 30 %, and anticipates the product to arrive in supermarkets by spring 2022.

“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,” enthuses Blachinsky. “We’ve officially launched our drive to help consumers enjoy reduce sugar in their favourite fruit juice.”

“Scaling up is always a challenge,” confesses Gali Yarom, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice. “But when your partner is GEA, with its vast industrial food processing capabilities and global presence, the acceleration of the Better Juice commercialisation is much faster and brings added value to the supply chain. Imagine—in just a few months, affordable, reduced-sugar fruit juice will be a ready option for American consumers.”

The equipment has been tested in GEA’s quality assurance facility in Germany and can be easily integrated into existing juice production lines, providing product at a capacity of up to 200 liter per hour. Total production capacity of reduced-sugar juices can be adjusted to the manufacturer’s needs.

“Better Juice has incredible potential to transform the global juice industry,” notes Colm O’Gorman, Head of Sales Management for GEA’s Global Technology Center for Non-Alcoholic Beverages. “As consumer demand for lowered-sugar beverages continues to surge, we are eager to join Better Juice on this momentous journey. We look forward to delivering products that address one of the top consumer needs of reducing their sugar intake, especially in daily beverages.”

Seed-round, led by iAngels, will propel production and technology to reduce sugars in fruit juice

Better Juice, Ltd., the first company to reduce all sugars from natural juices, announces it has raised US$8M in seed-round investment. This new influx of support was led by iAngels, Israel and includes investors: Maverick Ventures, Israel; Food Tech Lab TFTL, Spain; The Kitchen Hub, Israel, as part of the Strauss Group and IIA; NEOME, Israel; Schestowitz Group, Israel; and Semillero, Puerto Rico.

The start-up’s enzymatic technology uses all-natural ingredients to convert fructose, glucose, and sucrose into prebiotic dietary fibers and other non-digestible molecules. Reducing up to 80 % of all sugars, Better Juice’s non-GMO technology is designed to target orange juice’s specific sugar composition to naturally create a low-calorie, reduced-sugar product with a delicate sweetness. Better Juice opened a pilot plant in January 2021, an important milestone in the startup’s commercial scale-up timeline.

Better Juice will use the investment to build its first full-scale manufacturing plant in Israel to serve the growing demand. The high-tech plant will increase production capacity by 40-fold while generating up to US$50M sales annually. The company will use the funds to expand the sales and marketing teams to support its commercialization stage.

“We are excited to complete this investment round with the support of leading venture capital and CPG companies from around the globe,” says Eran Blachinsky, PhD, founder and CEO of Better Juice. “This investment will enable us to accelerate our growth and expand into other product lines, such as ice cream, soft drinks, and jam.”

About Better Juice
Better Juice was founded in 2018 by Eran Blachinsky, PhD, in collaboration with the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. The company was incubated in The Kitchen Hub – Strauss Group’s foodtech and IIA incubator, and received early funding from Maverick Ventures, Israel and other global partners.

Process engineering group GEA and Israeli foodtech start-up Better Juice have joined forces to help beverage manufacturers produce healthier, lower-sugar fruit juice.

Better Juice has developed a groundbreaking solution that naturally reduces the amount of sugar in fresh juice by up to 80 percent, without affecting its nutritional value or taste. GEA is now engineering the process technology the start-up needs, setting this innovative solution on course for industrial production.

Demand for healthier juice

GEA frequently works with innovations partners such as start-ups in order to react more quickly to market trends and explore alternative solutions. Reducing the amount of sugar in our diets is one of the dominant themes in the food industry today, since people who consume excess sugar are more likely to be overweight, obese, or suffer from conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for orange juice as a vitamin-rich, immune-boosting drink*

Please read the full article in the February issue of FRUIT PROCESSING digital.

*Source: The Wall Street Journal (2020): “Grocery-Store Rush Spurs Big Gains in Sleepy Orange-Juice Futures”

Better Juice plan to go full scale with industrial implementation of sugar-reduction tech within a year 

Better Juice, Ltd., the first foodTech startup to develop innovative technology to reduce all types of sugars in orange juice, announces its patent-pending technology is now scaling up. The startup is installing a semi-industrial pilot plant that also will be available for future testing at global partners’ plants. The pilot plant features the company’s sugar reduction process in a continuous flow technology that ensures a consistent, safe, and effective enzymatic process.

Putting the Squeeze on Fruit-juice Sugars is Scaling up
Pilot plant (Photo: Better Juice)

Better Juice developed an enzymatic technology that uses all-natural ingredients to convert fructose, glucose, and sucrose into prebiotic dietary fibers and other non-digestible molecules. Better Juice’s new pilot plant system marks a significant milestone in the startup’s commercial scale-up timeline. It is able to reduce up to 80 % of simple sugar in orange juice at a rate of up to 50 liters/hour. Better Juice’s non-GMO technology is designed to target the specific sugar composition in the orange juice to naturally create a low calorie reduced-sugar product that has a delicate sweetness. It is accomplished without using sweeteners or other additives to replace the sugars in the juice.

“We’ve signed collaboration agreements with several global juice producers so far,” reveals Eran Blachinsky, PhD, founder and CEO of Better Juice. “Our goal is to attain full industrial scale and supply to the market within a year. Soon, you will be able to see natural juice beverages with more favorable Nutri-Scores.” Nutri-Score is a new food label system that converts the nutritional value of products into a clear letter and color code on the packaging in Europe.

“Juice and beverage manufacturers are increasingly aware of the need to reduce the sugar levels in their products before new labeling initiative goes into action,” adds Blachinsky. “By using Better Juice technology, this will be easy to achieve.”

Maintaining juice quality through scaleup

The fruit juice industry, like any other, is constantly seeking ways to improve profitability. Adding a new procedure to the juice manufacturing by definition add costs. Better Juice uses a continuous flow technology that will only slightly influence the incremental costs to the overall price.

One of the major hurdles in continuous flow reduction of sugars in natural juices is keeping the process contamination-free even through large-scale production, without damaging the enzymatic activity. Better Juice developed a new device crafted from stainless steel, with aseptic fittings and welding, together with a unique process that guarantees a continuous, safe flow for its enzymatic sugar-reduction process for weeks at a time without interrupting the sterilization stage.

“The scale-up pilot plant is designed for smooth implementation into the standard procedures deployed by the juice industry,” explains Gali Yarom, Partner, COO, and VP of Business Development for Better Juice.

“Better Juice’s new tech process is cost-effective by virtue of its ability to maintain the continuous flow stage,” adds Yarom. “This is a key factor for beverage manufacturers seeking to affordably reduce sugars naturally while maintaining the juice quality and clean label attributes — a real game changer for the juice industry.”