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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.

Blossom Water LLC introduces Blossom Water Version 2.0, a transformational evolution of the category-creating essence water that is distinguished by appreciation and use of blossom botanicals. More than ever, Blossom Water checks all the boxes in addressing those core values that mainstream, discriminating buyers seek: a drink that is healthful, convenient to consume and, above all, truly enjoyable.

New Health Benefits
With Version 2.0, Blossom Water ups the ante as a better-for-you beverage. While a touch of sweetener remains indispensable for carrying the lively yet nuanced flavors that are Blossom Water’s hallmark, this new version has been reformulated to more than halve the original’s already low calorie and sugar content. Through a proprietary, next-generation sweetener blend, each serving is now only 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar ─ with 0 (zero) compromise on taste. Moreover, in the spirit of offering an even cleaner label, erythritol and agave have been eliminated. Version 2.0 also provides a new and valuable functional benefit for supporting immune health. With this game-changing enhancement, Blossom Water is the only shelf-stable RTD beverage providing clinically proven immune support efficacy on a par with that of probiotics.
Immunity has become an area of paramount interest for food and beverage consumers, in keeping with the trend toward a more preventive approach for protecting health. Surveys show immune support to be consumers’ second most desired functional benefit, behind only general health and wellness. That’s not surprising since a strong immune system is the best defense for maintaining wellness and vitality. Natural immunity can be operating at less than full strength due to a host of factors: dietary or sleep deficiency, age (children, for example, don’t have fully developed immune systems) or just plain stress brought on by today’s fast-paced way of life. To help address the need, Blossom Water Version 2.0 includes Staimune®, an FDA GRAS functional ingredient that was developed by Ganeden, now part of Kerry Group.

New Packaging
To signify these fundamental improvements, as well as aid convenience and versatility, Blossom Water Version 2.0 sports completely refreshed packaging. The label is now dramatic matte white, suggestive of the heightened wellness value, while strikingly superimposed flower and fruit watercolors convey the same dedicated commitment to flavor. Instead of glass, the bottle is now 100 % recyclable, BPA-free PET for better portability (lighter weight with no breakage worry) that fits with busy lifestyles and a wide range of occasions for consumption. Finally, the logo’s blossom image is thrown into sharper relief, clearly tying to the brand’s original inspiration and ongoing vision for development.

New Flavor
That vision is on display with the expansion of Blossom Water’s product line to include mango hibiscus, a new flavor that fuses succulent, mellow mango with the gentle, berry-like zest of hibiscus. Touted as “the king of fruits” in Asia and South America for its luscious juiciness, mango is gaining favor in the U.S. with growing influence of more ethnically diverse Millennials. At the same time, hibiscus in food and drink has begun to catch fire in the country. Whole Foods Market ranks floral flavors as #1 on its list of top 10 trends for 2018, and further singles out hibiscus as a “hot part of the trend.” Blossom Water’s hibiscus comes from Hibiscus sabdariffa that’s sustainably grown by local farmers in Sudan and Nigeria, who handpick and sun-dry the ruby red bases (calyces) of the flowers after bloom. Hibiscus has been consumed as a beverage for hundreds of years across Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Northern Africa, for instance, weddings and other special events are toasted with a glass of karkade, water infused with hibiscus calyces and sweetened with honey. In Southeast Asia, the calyces are frequently made into a syrup and poured over ice. And throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean ─ where hibiscus is often called Jamaica ─ agua de flor de Jamaica is popular as a refreshingly crisp drink to help beat the heat. Harmonized to bring out the best and most complementary attributes of each, Blossom Water’s mango hibiscus delivers a delightfully balanced sweet-tart taste and fresh fruit nose.

The Mexican market is being driven by health concerns and government reforms have pushed the growth of low sugar, healthy goods as it was announced that Mexico had surpassed the US as the country with the highest child obesity rates in the world. Among adults, in 2011, 70 % of Mexicans were overweight, with 30 % of these classed as obese compared to 68 % and 34 % of US citizens, respectively. This trend is predominantly in the rich, urban areas, with large numbers of children and adults in the poorer, rural regions still classed as underweight.

For adults, the problem seems to be longer working hours, which has led to an increase in ‘on-the-go’ consumption and a rise in the sales of fast foods. However, heightened awareness of the nutritional value of food and beverages has led to growth in the sales of packaged water and value-added drinks, such as drinking yogurt and nectars, which have supplementary calcium and anti-oxidant benefits.

In April 2011, the government declared that it would inform all Mexican children of the risks of obesity and has made this a public health issue, highlighting the seriousness of the situation. As part of this, the sale of any food or drink with an excess of 400 calories is now prohibited in schools. This has led many producers to develop drinks with low-sugar content. It has also resulted in an upsurge in the demand for ‘functional’ juice and nectars, with organic products seeing a rise in sales, despite the higher price, as they are generally viewed as healthier.

The rise in obesity has led to a rise in diabetes, further increasing the demand for low-sugar products. Despite this, low calorie variations of several soft drinks categories saw slow growth in 2011. Low-calorie carbonates grew by just over 1 %, compared to its regular counterpart, which experienced 5 % growth. Low-calorie nectars, however, saw a decline of around 17 % as it lost share to the still sweetened flavored water segment, with many producers introducing innovative new flavors.

In contrast to these negative trends, iced/rtd tea drinks saw exceptional growth throughout the year, as these products are increasingly seen as a healthy alternative to carbonates. Low calorie variants grew by around 26 %.

Additionally, regional juice producers have capitalized on the health trend by offering organic variants of soft drinks and marketing certain flavors as health drinks. Canadean expects the trend of low calorie and low sugar products to continue in 2012 and most soft drinks categories are forecast to see growth. However, this is expected to slow as the second wave of economic malaise affects businesses and consumers worldwide. Competition within the soft drinks market will remain rife, for example: juice versus nectars or carbonates versus iced/rtd tea drinks. The promotion of a healthier lifestyle will be the focus of marketing strategies and campaigns.

The information in this press release is from the report, “Mexico Soft Drinks Market Insights 2012”. More details about this report, please click here.