Ad:AJT book order
Ads:Current issue FRUIT PROCESSINGWorld Of Fruits 2024Our technical book Apple Juice TechnologyFRUIT PROCESSING Online Special: Instability of fruit-based beveragesFRUIT PROCESSING Online Special: Don’t give clogs a chanceOrange Juice ChainOur German magazine FLÜSSIGES OBST

Ingredion leads investment round to accelerate start-up’s advanced technology for naturally reducing sugar

FoodTech start-up Better Juice, Ltd., announced its collaboration with Ingredion, Inc., a leading global provider of specialty ingredients to the food and beverage industry. Ingredion Ventures, Ingredion’s venture investment arm, will lead the Series A funding round for Better Juice which will fast-track penetration of its breakthrough sugar reduction solution into the US juice market.

Better Juice’s innovative sugar reduction technology removes simple sugars in juice-based beverages, concentrates and other natural sugar-containing liquids. The Company developed an enzymatic technology, which converts sugars into non-digestible compounds, such as dietary fibers and non-digestible sugars, while maintaining the natural profile of vitamins, minerals and organic acids in the final product.

“This important partnership step is truly exciting,” enthuses Gali Yarom, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice. “It dovetails perfectly with the Better Juice strategy to penetrate the North American market. Ingredion was impressed by our non-GMO technology, and its uses in a wide variety of applications. This move will open doors to leading food and beverage companies seeking sugar-reduction solutions for their products.”

“The Better Juice technology adds a completely new dimension to our portfolio of sugar reduction solutions for food and beverage brands on a mission to meet increased consumer demand for less sugar,” says Nate Yates, Sugar Reduction Business Leader at Ingredion. “This technology also provides manufacturers with more options to successfully reduce sugar without compromising on great taste or nutrition.”

Clean-label conversion

The environmentally friendly clean-label conversion process applies proprietary beads composed of non-GMO microorganisms which produce enzymes. These enzymes convert the juice’s composition of fruit sugars including sucrose, glucose, and fructose into better-for-you prebiotic fibers and other non-digestible molecules. This enables sugar reduction by 30 to 80 percent.

“This alliance will accelerate our go-to-market journey,” explains Eran Blachinsky, PhD, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice. “Ingredion’s capital support will allow us to extend the technology to other liquids with natural sources of sugar, such as milk, beer, and wine.”

This achievement follows Better Juice’s well-established partnership with GEA Group, one of the largest suppliers of food processing technology.

Better Juice primed for commercialisation

Better Juice’s solution has successfully advanced to commercial scale in the U.S. In recent years, it demonstrated its full proof of concept in collaboration with juice manufacturers in the U.S. and Asia. These companies are now poised to progress to the next stage of commercialisation. Better Juice is now fully prepped for market entry, with a capacity to process 250 million liters of sugar reduced juice per year.

Since 2022, the groundbreaking GEA Better Juice Sugar Converter Skid is included in GEA’s test center in Ahaus, Germany. Better Juice collaborates with GEA for manufacturing the bioreactor, and together they install the technology in customers’ facilities.

“Better Juice has achieved important milestones in the past two years and has positioned itself as the leading company for reducing simple sugars from natural sources,” notes Amir Zaidman, VP of The Kitchen Hub. “The timing is perfect for serving the rapidly expanding trend of consumers striving to cut down on simple sugars in their diet.”

About Ingredion
Ingredion, Inc. (NYSE: INGR), headquartered in the suburbs of Chicago, is a leading global ingredient solutions provider serving customers in more than 120 countries. With 2022 annual net sales of nearly $8 billion, the company turns grains, fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based materials into value-added ingredient solutions for the food, beverage, animal nutrition, brewing, and industrial markets. With Ingredion Idea Labs® innovation centers located around the world, and approximately 12,000 employees, Ingredion co-creates with customers to fulfill its mission of bringing the potential of people, nature, and technology together to make life better.

Nestlé has introduced a versatile and cost-effective sugar reduction technology that can be applied across different product categories, with benefits beyond sugar reduction. It can also be used to produce low lactose and skimmed milk-based products, while reducing total sugars.

Using an enzymatic process, it reduces intrinsic sugar in ingredients such as malt, milk, and fruit juices by up to 30 %, with a minimal impact on taste and texture. The sugar-reduced ingredients are then used in recipes for various products. There is no need to add sweeteners or bulking agents to replace the volume of the eliminated sugar.

When the patented sugar reduction method is applied to milk-based products, it also increases prebiotic fibers. First clinical studies have shown that these fibers can support the growth of multiple types of beneficial bacteria leading to a favourable microbiome composition in healthy adults.

Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer says, “Sugar reduction across our portfolio remains a top priority. This new technology is a true breakthrough, as we can reduce sugar without adding sweeteners while preserving a great taste, all at a minimal cost increase. In addition, our scientists discovered that the sugar reduction generates prebiotic fibers that support the microbiome, which is an additional benefit. We are now accelerating the global roll-out across formats and categories.”

The sugar reduction was first piloted in cocoa and malt-based ready-to-drink beverages in Southeast Asia and over the past year, Nestlé has already introduced it in factory lines for cocoa and malt-based powdered beverages such as Milo across several countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Since 2021, the sugar reduction technology has been applied to over 200 000 tons of cocoa and malt-based beverages. The roll-out continues, and other product categories such as dairy powders will follow.

The development of novel technologies is part of Nestlé’s continuous efforts to improve the nutritional value of its products, while supporting responsible consumption as part of a balanced diet. The new sugar reduction technology complements a wide range of existing solutions which Nestlé has developed over the years in collaboration with external innovation partners and suppliers. This includes natural sweeteners, sweetness-enhancing or bitterness masking flavours, as well as natural bulking agents such as fibers, cereals and tailor-made dairy and cocoa powders.

The European soft drinks sector achieved an impressive average 7.6 % sugar reduction between 2019 and 2022

The European soft drinks sector, represented by Unesda, announced further progress1 on its commitments to the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices,2 with strong results achieved in 2022 in its actions to create a healthier beverage system in Europe.

Ian Ellington, President of Unesda and Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo in Europe, comments: ‘’As a sector, we remain committed to making significant progress on our many EU Code of Conduct commitments. We have achieved impressive results in our health and nutrition actions and, in particular, in our sugar reduction, marketing and advertising practices and school policies.’’

Ellington added: ‘’The journey has not been easy. Rising inflation in 2022 significantly impacted our ability to use more recycled content in our packaging due to the challenges we faced in accessing food-grade feedstock for recycling. We need policy support to deliver fully circular beverage packaging and to continue advancing on our sugar reduction programme.’’

Among Unesda’s achievements are its actions to encourage European consumers towards healthier dietary habits:

The sector delivered a 6% reduction in average added sugars in its soft drinks between 2019 and 2022 across Europe, as indicated by data analytics and consulting company GlobalData. This represents an additional reduction of 4 percentage points within 1 year (between 2021 and 2022). It shows that Unesda is on track towards meeting its commitment to reduce average added sugars in its beverages3 by another 10 % in the EU-27 and in the UK between 2019 and 2025.4 The success of the sector’s reformulation efforts to reduce sugar largely relies on the use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners to increase the offer of low- and no-calorie beverages. These ingredients should continue to be supported by public authorities and regulators to enable the sector to make further progress on sugar reduction.

Unesda corporate members achieved solid results regarding its marketing and advertising commitment, as demonstrated in the audits carried out by independent marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity (television) and the European Advertising Standards Alliance (websites, social media and influencers).5 The sector reached high compliance rates (98.7 % on TV, 92.9 % on company-owned websites, 94.1 % on company-owned social media profiles, and 100 % on influencer profiles), and is committed to continuing to work towards full compliance of its marketing and advertising commitment.

Unesda corporate members also reported to be highly compliant with the sector’s school policies6 in the four selected EU countries for its 2022 monitoring, conducted by third-party auditors BVA-BDRC:7

  • 100 % (primary schools) and 92.3% (secondary schools) in Austria
  • 100 % (primary schools) and 93.4% (secondary schools) in Italy
  • 100 % (primary schools) and 100% (secondary schools) in Slovenia
  • 100 % (primary schools) and 96.2% (secondary schools) in Sweden

Industry faces major challenges to accelerate packaging circularity

Unesda and its corporate members continued their actions to increase the amount of recycled plastic content in their beverage PET bottles to achieve the sector’s objective of using 50% recycled PET by 2025. The cost and availability of this material have been major challenges impacting these efforts. The most effective way to address this issue is to prioritise high-quality recycling in EU and national legislation by granting the sector a priority access right to the feedstock for recycling issued from its PET bottles. This will ensure that PET bottles are recycled into new beverage packaging in a closed-loop system, and are not being downcycled in non-food applications.

The way forward: Policy support is key

The European soft drinks sector remains determined to deliver on all its commitments but needs supportive policies in place to be successful.

In particular, the sector’s further actions to promote healthier lifestyles fully depend on support from EU public authorities and regulators for the use of ingredients assessed as safe by health authorities and on evidence-based dietary recommendations that do not denigrate or discriminate against any ingredient approved for use.

In order to accelerate the transition to full circularity of its packaging, Unesda calls for legislation supporting well-designed, industry-led Deposit Return Systems, the increased collection of beverage packaging across the EU and high-quality recycling through a priority access right to recycling feedstock to ensure a closed-loop system.

In addition, Unesda calls for a realistic regulatory framework on reuse that provides beverage producers flexibility to invest in the packaging mix that makes the most sense from environmental, economic, and consumer perspectives. This also includes considering all available reusable and refill options (at home and on the go) for the achievement of the reuse and refill targets proposed in the proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.

Unesda will continue to engage with EU decision-makers in a constructive manner to help ensure policy predictability and coherence.

1Read Unesda’s 2022 progress report on its commitments to the EU Code of Conduct here.
2The EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices was launched by the European Commission in July 2021 and it is an integral part of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy to create a more sustainable food system in Europe. The EU Code of Conduct aims to encourage the entire food and drink sector to provide more sustainable and healthier food and beverage choices.
3Unesda’s sugar reduction commitment is applicable to all product categories under Unesda’s remit, including still drinks, carbonate drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, dilutables and iced teas, but excludes bottled water, 100 % juices, milk based and hot beverages.
4This will represent a 33 % overall reduction in average added sugars in soft drinks since 2000, building on past sugar reduction milestones that the sector achieved from 2015 to 2019 (14.6 % reduction on average) and from 2000 to 2015 (13.3 % reduction on average).
5Unesda corporate members started implementing an effective Responsible Marketing Code of Conduct in 2006 with its commitment to no marketing communication in printed media, websites or during broadcast programmes specifically aimed at children under 12. Since then, they have reinforced this commitment by extending the scope of media channels in which they do not market and advertise their soft drinks to the under-12s: cinemas in 2008 and the digital world, including company-owned websites, in 2018 when they also tightened the audience criteria and committed not to market and advertise their beverages when 35 % of the audience or more was under 12 years of age. As of 1 January 2022, Unesda corporate members extended the age range by committing not to advertise and market any of their soft drinks to children under 13 years across all media. This includes TV, radio, in print, in cinemas and online, including social media and other online platforms and sites (company-owned websites and video-sharing platforms such as YouTube). It also includes direct marketing, product placement, interactive games, outdoor marketing, mobile marketing and contracted influencers. Unesda corporate members also committed to lowering the audience threshold from 35 % to 30 % so that fewer young children are directly exposed to advertising for any of its soft drinks.
6Unesda and its members are committed not to sell any soft drinks in EU primary schools since 2006 (through direct distribution), and to only sell low- and no-calorie soft drinks in EU secondary schools since 2017 (through direct distribution), and only in non-branded vending machines.
7The monitoring of Unesda’s school commitment is performed every two years in a group of different countries where there is a voluntary school commitment in place to provide a diversified sample of larger and smaller countries from different parts of the EU.

IBC and NewTree Fruit Company to expand access to patented De-Sugaring Technology

InterContinental Beverage Capital and Travers City, MI-based NewTree Fruit Company (NTFC) are taking NTFC’s patented De-Sugaring Technology to the next level. The two companies will be collaborating on ways to bring NTFC’s revolutionary technology into IBC’s Bevnology product development facility in Tyron, GA (US).

Since 2016, IBC and NTFC have been working together to reduce sugar consumption among consumers of all demographics worldwide. With global patent approvals in the US, Europe, and Asia, NTFC’s De-Sugaring Technology has proven successful in reducing sugar to 1 g or less in an 8 oz juice-based product, while delivering great taste and the full nutritional value of two servings of fruit. Now, by integrating their technology into IBC’s client offerings, NTFC and IBC are poised to directly impact the speed-to-market while broadening product offerings for large global brands and businesses seeking a healthier, more flavourful offering with almost 0 sugar.

IBC founding partner, Stephen Horgan added “We have experimented with implementing this on a small scale since February and are extremely encouraged with the results. Working with NTFC, Louis Heinsz, our lead IBC partner at Bevnology Labs has been able to create a broad array of products that deliver these healthy consumer benefits with great taste across non-alcohol and alcohol products alike.”

Less sugar is a top priority for consumers today and there is an increasing expectation of healthier product solutions with reduced sugar which also deliver on taste. NewTree has cracked this code with their patented process that captures the authentic experience of fruit juice and can be utilised in a multitude of formulation applications. Consumers deserve products that meet this expectation and the many beverage and food offerings today, including the most popular brands on retailers’ shelves, fall short of delivering on this. The demand for healthier, low-sugar product solutions is rapidly increasing among consumers, and NTFC’s De-Sugaring Technology has emerged as the leading solution to this problem. By partnering with IBC, NTFC is even better positioned to bring its calorie reducing, de-sugaring technology to the forefront of the beverage industry and help more brands and companies to offer great tasting, healthy products to all consumers.

About InterContinental Beverage Capital, Inc.
IBC is a New York-based advisory and investment firm focused on the beverage and consumer packaged goods industries. IBC has a worldwide network of strategic industry contacts, lending institutions, consultants, recruiters, and management teams. These sources provide expertise, industry capabilities, access to new customers, and valuable investment and commercial banking capabilities to partnership companies. IBC is actively seeking investments in its targeted verticals companies, which have unique products and dedicated management that exhibit the ability to develop into category leaders.

About NewTree Fruit Company
NewTree Fruit Company is a Travers City, MI-based company dedicated to reducing sugar consumption among consumers worldwide. With its patented De-Sugaring Technology, NewTree has successfully reduced sugar to 1 g or less in an 8 oz juice-based product while maintaining taste and delivering the full nutritional value of two servings of fruit.

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) has called the publication of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline on the use of non-sugar sweeteners a “disservice to public health”.

The WHO guideline, which the body itself admits is a conditional recommendation based on evidence of low-certainty, was published on 15 May 2023. It suggests that non-sugar sweeteners shouldn’t be used as a means of achieving weight control or reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases.

An ISA spokesperson said: “In light of the global effort to address the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including dental diseases which are the most prevalent NCD globally, and other societal challenges such as the global obesity crisis, the ISA believes it is a disservice to public health to not recognise low/no calorie sweeteners’ role in reducing sugar and calorie intake and aiding in weight control.

“The ISA believes this guideline should have been based on the comprehensive set of available evidence and interpreted considering the hierarchy and weight of scientific evidence. The WHO could only conclude a conditional recommendation, which is not scientifically rigorous, nor based on a robust evidence base or supported by the evidence presented in the WHO-commissioned systematic review itself.

“The ISA joins others, including relevant government agencies around the globe, who have responded to the public consultation on the draft guideline expressing their concerns about the conclusions and rationale used by WHO. The ISA agrees with the UK’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities that commented ‘the guideline may go too far’ and with the Australian government’s Department of Health and Aged Care who wrote that ‘the recommendation may result in undesirable health outcomes for some individuals.'”

ISA Chairman Bob Peterson added: “Food and beverage companies have reformulated products as part of a comprehensive, global effort to meet public health recommendations (including from the WHO) for sugar reduction. Low/no calorie sweeteners have enabled this innovation and ultimately contribute to the creation of healthier food environments by allowing people to enjoy food and drinks with less sugar and fewer calories, while still meeting their taste preferences.”

Prof Nita Forouhi, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, said: “The findings of the WHO report are justifiable for general populations of people without diabetes, based on the inclusion of all eligible evidence from multiple research study designs, but are limited by several factors, many of which the report acknowledged. Notably, the WHO recommendation on avoiding the use of non-sugar sweeteners for longer term weight management or chronic disease prevention is conditional, therefore context and country specific policy decisions may be needed rather than necessarily being universally implemented as they stand. The role of non-sugar sweeteners as a way to reduce calories in the short-term is, however, supported by evidence – so using sweeteners can be part of interventions to manage weight in the short term.”

Lipton Ice Tea, the number one ready-to-drink tea brand1, is relaunching its range in a modernised design with a packaging makeover for all flavours. The packaging refresh is also accompanied by a reduction in sugar across the core range of Peach, Lemon, and Green Mint & Lime. The reduction will help the brand continue to appeal to the growing number of shoppers on the lookout for lower sugar options without any compromise on taste.

Half of shoppers say they are actively reducing the amount of sugar they consume2, which makes it the perfect time for Lipton’s relaunch. The new and improved drinks will maintain Lipton’s refreshing fruity taste and offer shoppers a lower sugar alternative, without compromising on great flavour.

As the leading brand in ready-to-drink tea3, Lipton Ice Tea’s value grew + 27 % in 20224 with further opportunities to grow as it taps into the 50 % of shoppers who choose food and drink products with reduced or no sugar content5. As a soft drinks segment, ready-to-drink tea represents a trade up opportunity for retailers, holding a price point of £2.43 per litre on average, versus the wider soft drinks’ £1.34 per litre6. This represents a premium option for consumers, and allows retailers to offer a full range of soft drinks which caters to multiple tastes and wallets.

The relaunched range will roll out across all channels from March 2023.

The new Lipton Ice Tea recipes are the latest lower sugar offering from Britvic, with continued innovation and reformulation programmes enabling the company to offer consumers healthier choices as part of ist Healthier People sustainability strategy. In 2022, this meant 96 % of its innovation launches were low or no calorie drinks – with an average of around 14 calories per serve across its Great Britain portfolio.

1NielsenIQ RMS, Total Coverage GB, Ready-To-Drink Ice Tea value sales, Britvic Defined 5Y, 31st Dec 2022
2Mintel – Attitudes towards Sugar and Sweeteners – UK – 2021
3NielsenIQ RMS, Total Coverage GB, Ready-To-Drink Ice Tea value sales, Britvic Defined 5Y, 31st Dec 2022
4NielsenIQ RMS, Total Coverage, RTD Ice Tea value sales, Britvic Defined, MAT we 31.12.2022
5Mintel – Attitudes towards Sugar and Sweeteners – UK – 2021
6NielsenIQ RMS – Total Coverage, Total Soft Drinks Britvic Defined, Average Price Point MAT we 31.12.2022

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.”

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.

Reducing sugar levels in everything from carbonated soft drinks and seltzers to dairy shakes has never been a higher priority for beverage brands and their suppliers globally.

Treatt’s sugar reduction capabilities are growing with the introduction of its new Brix Booster products.

The range extension follows the success of the first Brix Booster, and is in response to increasing consumer demand for authentic, sugar-like flavours which meet healthier living needs without compromising on taste.

The expanded range offers unique blends of all natural sweet ingredients, essences and aromas that do not add calories to finished beverages, delivering everything from subtle sugar cane notes, through to bold sugar profiles with rich molasses nuances.

Brix boosting benefits

  • Increases sweetness perception
  • Improves mouthfeel
  • Improves authentic sugar profile when formulating with high intensity sweeteners (HIS)
  • Lifts overall flavour profile of beverage

The Brix Boosters increase the perception of sweetness within a beverage while improving mouthfeel adding a more authentic sugar like profile. Because they contain the volatile aromas from natural sweet foodstuffs that have been specifically selected, they slot into a beverage formulation without disrupting the overall profile.

Rosie Travers, Health & Wellness Category Manager at Treatt comments: “Our Brix Boosters can be used as a sugar flavour ingredient in sugar free, low and reduced sugar formulations, or in conjunction with natural or synthetic high intensity sweeteners. This natural flavour provides an authentic sucrose impression to the sweetness profile. We have seen success across a wide range of applications in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. They deliver a sugar-like taste, rounded sweetness, improved mouthfeel, and lasting sugar flavour that works harmoniously within the flavour profile of the beverage.”

Introducing the range: 3 sugar taste profiles for any application

Brix Booster 9884 has a mild sugar flavour profile, reminiscent of unrefined sugar or sugar cane. Works well with flavoured waters, lemonade, citrus and berry flavour beverage applications.

Brix Booster 9885 has a rich sugar flavour profile, reminiscent of light brown sugar. Works well with orangeade, cola, tonic, tropical and berry flavour beverage applications.

Brix Booster 9886 delivers a bold sugar flavour profile, reminiscent of brown sugar with notes of dried fruits and molasses. Works well with iced tea, coffee, cola, ginger beer, brown and robust flavour beverage applications.

Avoidance of alcohol is becoming the norm for a growing minority of consumers around the world. While this trend is seen across all age groups, it is most apparent in Generation Z, with as many as a third of consumers aged 18 – 25 now saying that they never consume alcohol.

This trend is creating an entirely new sub-category within the alcoholic drinks market. Younger consumers appear reluctant to turn their backs on either the taste or sophistication of beer, wine and spirits in favour of traditional soft drinks. As a result, alcohol-free choices are flooding the shelves.

According to a new report from Innova Market Insights, four percent of all the beers and spirits launched globally in 2021 contained no alcohol at all, rising to seven percent among flavoured alcoholic beverages (FABs). Launch numbers in each of these areas have grown at CAGRs of 20 – 40 % over the past five years.

Alcohol removal is also becoming far more mainstream. “The big guns are all invested in the alcohol-free movement,” reports Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova Market Insights. “Brands such as Guinness 0.0 alcohol free stout and Freixenet 0.0 sparkling rosé wine offer both familiarity and novelty to young, brand-conscious drinkers.”

It is not all about a ‘no alcohol’ positioning, however, as launches of low-alcohol drinks such as hard seltzers are growing twice as fast. The soft drinks giants have even been exploring this area in partnership with alcohol companies. For example, Coca-Cola (with Molson Coors) already offers the Topo Chico hard seltzers brand, while PepsiCo (with the Boston Beer Co) is ready to roll out Hard Mtn Dew in early 2022. PepsiCo has also applied for a trademark that suggests an alcoholic version of Rockstar could be on the cards.

Whether it is in alcohol reduction or its complete removal, the industry is recognizing that alcohol-shy youngsters are the target audience of tomorrow. Adjusting to their needs is a major focus for right now.

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”

As Ocean Spray continues to focus on health and wellness, the new beverage aims to feature roughly 40 % less sugar while still delivering a delicious, classic taste

As part of Ocean Spray’s commitment to bringing healthy and delicious products to the market, the agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 farmer families has announced a partnership with Amai Proteins in an effort to incorporate healthy, sweet proteins into the product portfolio. Through joint development agreements, Ocean Spray and Amai Proteins plan to develop cranberry juice with at least a 40 % sugar reduction, offering consumers more ways to incorporate the cranberry into a healthier lifestyle.

Amai Proteins’ innovative sugar-reduction solution is a hyper-sweet protein that is thousands of times sweeter than sugar. Through computational protein design, Amai Proteins has redesigned sweet proteins to fit the requirements of the market including temperature and acid stability for better shelf-life, great taste and affordable cost. The resulting designer proteins are 100 % protein, and expected to be a healthy, tasty sweetening solution.

Ocean Spray is partnering with Amai Proteins in this ground-breaking designer protein research to continue to provide great tasting and lower caloric solutions for people worldwide, leveraging the best that technology has to offer.  The reduced sugar cranberry juice offering will continue to extend Ocean Spray’s tradition of bringing good tasting and healthful products to consumers without compromising the goodness and bold taste of the cranberry.

Additionally, Ocean Spray and Amai Proteins are excited to continue their partnership to develop and apply learnings to additional Ocean Spray products in the future.  This is a significant milestone for Ocean Spray and the beverage industry.  Many other companies are working to remove sugar and maintain taste but tend to fall short on flavor.

“Ocean Spray is proud to partner with Amai Proteins to bring consumers additional options for changing habits and lifestyles,” said Katy Latimer, VP of Research and Development at Ocean Spray. “We will continue to develop options that showcase the incredible health benefits of the cranberry while highlighting our commitment to health and wellness.”

“Amai Proteins offers the sweetest protein in the world as a tasty and healthy significant sugar reduction solution,” said Ilan Samish, CEO of Amai Proteins. “We are excited to be working with Ocean Spray in bringing our sweet proteins to the iconic cranberry cooperative as a healthy option for consumers to enjoy their favorite cranberry flavor.”

About Ocean Spray
Founded in 1930, Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry farmers in the United States, Canada and Chile who have helped preserve the family farming way of life for generations. The Cooperative’s cranberries are currently featured in more than a thousand great-tasting, nutritious products in over 100 countries worldwide. Leading by purpose, Ocean Spray is committed to the power of good—creating good, nutritious food that has a direct and powerful impact for the health of people and planet. All for good. Good for all.

About Amai Proteins
Amai Proteins fixes our food system one protein at a time. The first line of products are hyper-sweet designer proteins that are healthy, tasty, and affordable thus enabling significant sugar reduction without compromising taste.  Amai (means ‘sweet’ in Japanese) fits proteins to the mass food market by learning how life adapted to extreme environments. Such adaptation mechanisms are applied via computational protein design followed by environmentally-friendly and sustainable production in a brewery using yeast or other microorganisms. The resulting GMO-free delicious protein is inspired by sweet proteins that sweeten exotic fruits found along the equatorial belt. Market launch is expected in 2022.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is set to accelerate the decarbonisation of its business by reducing absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its entire value chain – including scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions – by 30 % by 2030 (vs 2019)* and setting a path to become a Net Zero business by 2040, in alignment with a 1.5˚C pathway and the Paris Climate Agreement.

CCEP will reduce GHG emissions across all five areas of its value chain – ingredients, packaging, operations, transportation and refrigeration. Crucially, there is a significant focus on reducing scope 3 emissions via a commitment to support strategic suppliers to set their own science-based carbon reduction targets and use 100 % renewable electricity.

CCEP’s immediate action plan is supported by a three-year €250m investment which will provide targeted financial support to decarbonise its business. This includes sustainable packaging initiatives, such as the progression of its 100 % rPET roadmap and investing in the scaling of depolymerisation technology, which will help accelerate the delivery of its longer-term net-zero objectives.

The ambition is underpinned by the inclusion of a GHG emissions reduction target in CCEP’s long term management incentive plan (LTIP) – 15 % of the LTIP awarded in 2020 will be based on the extent to which CCEP reduces GHG emissions over the next three years.

It builds on work undertaken over the last decade to reduce GHG emissions across CCEP’s entire value chain by 30.5 % (vs 2010) as part of This is Forward, its joint sustainability plan with Coca-Cola in Western Europe. CCEP’s 2030 GHG reduction commitment has been approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as being in line with a 1.5˚C reduction pathway as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

As part of its journey to Net Zero, CCEP will invest in projects which remove carbon from the atmosphere or verified carbon offset projects. However it will focus on reducing emissions as far as possible and will only offset where essential and where it can’t reduce emissions any further.

*This includes a commitment to reduce Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 47 % and Scope 3 emissions 29 % by 2030 from a 2019 base year.

Reaching 14.6 % reduction of added sugars in soft drinks between 2015-2019

Europe’s soft drinks industry has reduced added sugars in its drinks across Europe by an average of 14.6 % between 2015 and 2019.[1]

UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, representing soft drinks producers across the EU, is committed to creating healthier and more sustainable food environments. It is determined to support consumers in managing their intake of added sugars from soft drinks by ensuring that the healthier choice becomes the easy choice. The industry responded to the European Commission’s call for a 10 % reduction in added sugars by 2020 and recent research, by independent analysts GlobalData, confirms that it has met, and surpassed, the target ahead of time.

“This reduction is proof that the soft drinks industry’s voluntary efforts to reduce sugar across the EU are delivering tangible results,” said UNESDA president and president Western Europe at The Coca-Cola Company, Tim Brett. It demonstrates our sector’s accelerated action in response to changing consumer preferences and the expectations of public health stakeholders.”

The 14.6 % reduction in added sugars has been achieved through a comprehensive range of actions including changing recipes to reduce sugars while maintaining a taste with which consumers are happy; innovating to develop new products with different sweetness levels; increasing availability of small packs to support portion control and moderation; and nudging people toward more no- and low-sugar/calorie options through marketing investments. This latest sugar reduction comes on top of previous achievements and means that Europe’s soft drinks industry has now reduced added sugars by an average of 26 % since 2000.

UNESDA is a founding member of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and has undertaken a series of voluntary commitments over the past 15 years to help address unhealthy diets as a risk factor for non-communicable diseases. These have been complemented by numerous national pledges to support EU member states in their action plans to create healthier food environments. These pledges are the result of stakeholder engagement at a national level and set targets based on local baselines and expectations. They reflect the conclusions of the 2016 Dutch EU Presidency which highlighted that sugar reduction is a gradual process and needs to take account of different dietary habits and preferences across the EU.

“Our sector’s progress in reducing sugar and calorie reduction has been enabled by the openness of stakeholders to engage through the EU Platform,” concluded Tim Brett. “We believe that the EU Code of Conduct for responsible business and marketing practices announced in the EU Farm to Fork strategy offers an opportunity to continue this dialogue with all actors, including Member States. As an industry we are committed to maintaining our efforts through a range of voluntary actions to ensure that the healthier choice becomes the easy choice.”

The path towards sugar reduction through reformulation comes with multiple challenges from a technological and consumer acceptance perspective and these become greater the more the reductions continue.

While the soft drinks sector has reduced the average sugar content in its products, and the WHO’s research[2] shows that frequency of consumption among school-aged children has declined across all age groups over the past 16 years, recent data shows that rates of overweight and obesity have not reduced. This demonstrates the complexity of the issue and the need for a holistic approach with all food and drink sectors committing to actions that support healthier food environments.

In addition to ongoing sugar and calorie reduction, Europe’s soft drinks sector has also made far-reaching commitments to behave responsibly in the marketplace including no advertising to children under 12; no sales of any soft drinks in EU primary schools and only no- and low- calorie drinks offered for sale in EU secondary schools.

About UNESDA
Established in 1958 UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe is a Brussels-based association representing the European soft drinks industry. Its membership includes both companies and national associations from across Europe producing drinks including still drinks, squashes, carbonates, powders, iced teas, iced coffees, syrups, energy drinks and sports drinks. It is signatory to the EU Transparency Register (No: 25498952296-56).

[1] GlobalData research across 7 markets – Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Romania, UK
– representing 62 % of the EU market and extrapolated to create an aggregate figure.
[2] https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Life-stages/child-and-adolescent-health/health-behaviour-in-school-aged-children-hbsc

Tate & Lyle PLC, a leading global provider of food and beverage solutions and ingredients, is delighted to announce that its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030 have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as consistent with levels required to meet the climate action goals of the Paris Agreement.

Announced in May 2020, Tate & Lyle’s commitment to a 30 % absolute reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is in line with the Paris Agreement’s central aim to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C. The company’s commitment to reduce emissions from the value chain (Scope 3) by 15 % over the same period meets the SBTi’s criteria for ambitious value chain goals.

Tate & Lyle is one of only around 65 food and beverage operators globally to have its environmental commitments approved by SBTi, a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

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.”

Sugar reduction remains a central topic in the media and among consumers and opportunities for reducing sugar intake are taking a number of directions as companies address evolving concerns and demands.

Strategies for reducing sugar intake feature a combination of sugar reduction, sugar substitution and moving beyond sweetness to alternative tastes. These methods are often supported by a combination of functional formulations and blends, next generation sweeteners and other technological developments.

In an Innova Market Insights survey, sugar reduction is a popular option for the three in five US consumers in an Innova Market Insights survey who would rather cut back on sugar than consume artificial sweeteners. Sugar-related claims continue to grow and increasingly take on more prominent on-pack positionings.

In the US, for example, 8 % of all new food and beverage launches tracked by Innova Market Insights in 2018 featured a sugar reduction claim. Claims of no added sugar were most prominent, accounting for 42 % of all sugar-related claims, ahead of sugar-free (36 %) and low sugar (27 %). Although the low sugar claim is smallest in terms of its share of launches, it is also the fastest growing with an NPD CAGR of 17 % over the 2014 to 2018 period.

Sugar reduction can be achieved in a number of ways, including removing or reducing the amount of added sugar, replacing part of the sugar formulation with non-nutritive sweeteners and/or using innovative processing technologies, such as “aeration” to increase perceived sweetness, slow straining milk to remove sugar prior to yogurt making, or using enzymes to convert simple sugars to fibers in juices.

Interest in sugar substitution has also driven the rising use of sweeteners, particularly non-nutritive ones derived from nature, such as stevia, monk fruit and thaumatin. Allulose, which also occurs naturally in small quantities in a variety of sweet foods such as figs, can also be manufactured synthetically.

The April 2019 announcement by the FDA that allulose did not have to be included in total and added sugar counts in US nutritional labeling has also cleared the way for much higher levels of use and a potential move mainstream. Levels of patent activity indicate current interest in the use of allulose, rising 42 % in 2018 over 2017, while global NPD in food and beverages featuring the ingredient had an average annual growth of 45 % over the 2014 to 2018 period, although from a low base.

Companies are also looking at alternative ingredients such as coffee cherries as a potential stealth reducer of sugar in foods containing chocolate. Upcycled coffee cherries can be used to reduce the amount of sugar in finished products by emulating flavor in highlighting the cocoa notes, so that less cocoa powder is needed.

Another approach to sugar reduction is to use alternative flavor notes, such as bitter, sour or spicy, exploiting interest in novel and unconventional flavors to reduce the demand for sweetness overall. Interest in botanicals and their health benefits is also rising and may likewise encourage consumers to move away from more sugar laden foods; the use of botanical flavors for food and drinks NPD is expanding and can be seen across a whole range of different categories.

JuiceInnov8, a Bangkok based deeptech startup in food biotechnology space, has closed a pre-Series A funding led by 500 Startups (500 Durians and 500 Tuktuks), making the total amount raised (including Seed Round and grants) at USD 1.2 M to date.

As the first venture-backed food-biotech startup in Asia, the company is now on the verge to reinvent global beverage industry with a better & healthier juice that has less sugar & lower calories. By working with leading food & beverage manufacturers worldwide, JuiceInnov8 develops sugar reduction technology platform with natural & non-GM (non-genetically modified) microbes and proprietary sugar conversion process through biotechnology. The technology allows sugar & calories reduction in juice to near zero while preserving its original 100 % juice content and key nutrients.

Proceed from this round will help JuiceInnov8 expand its core scientist & engineering team and help accelerate the development from pilot to commercial scale. The company is now working closely with leading brands & suppliers in the food & beverage supply chain in multiple regions around the globe.

Less sugar, more minerals and still: 100 percent juice!

From 16 to 18 October 2018, the largest and most important European summit of the fruit juice industry – the Juice Summit in Antwerp – took place. Stefan Reiß, CEO of Green Coco Europe GmbH and co-founder of premium brand Dr. Antonio Martins was invited as a speaker emphasizing the potential and relevance of coconut water / coconut juice to the juice industry in front of about 600 decision-makers. The CEO of the Nuremberg company presents an interesting approach to reducing sugar in fruit juices. Coconut juice is very popular among athletes, vegans and nutritionally-conscious consumers due to its high potassium and low calorie content – making it an ideal blend for juices whose high sugar content no longer seems to hit the nerve of the times.

For some time now, the juice industry has faced immense challenges in terms of sugar discussions. The high sugar content of orange juice & co is increasingly being pilloried. For example, orange juice with about 8 grams of sugar per 100 ml of juice contains as much sugar as cola. For this reason, the 100 % fruit juice loses its healthy reputation not only with relevant nutritionists, but more and more with nutritionally conscious consumers.

“Coconut juice can be a solution here and take out the wind of the issue´s sails. Why not add coconut juice to orange juice and drastically reduce sugar content and calories? The fruit juice content remains in this way at 100 percent. The light and neutral properties of the coconut juice do not mask the taste of the orange juice. According to the latest figures from the market research study by Arizton, I see a potential of 297 million liters for juice with coconut juice by 2023, “says Green-Coco CEO Stefan Reiß, summing up his solution. Coconut juice adds valuable minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium to the juice and these can also be declared as such. The juice of the coconut is 11-19 kcal per 100 ml – the lowest calorie fruit juice ever.

A mixing ratio of 40 % coconut juice and 60 % orange juice gives 29 calories per 100 ml, instead of 42 kcal as before. In this way you achieve a reduction of more than 10 calories per 100ml to less than 30 kcal compared to the pure variant – in times of steadily rising numbers of diabetes diseases a step in the right direction. Even in multivitamin juices, adding coconut juice would mean a significant calorie and sugar reduction.

Other facts should encourage the industry to take this path: According to a market study by Arizton, the coconut water market is expected to grow by 25 % per year across Europe by 2023. Coconut juice is no longer a niche product, has established itself as an independent category and can be found in almost every discount. Supermarkets, such as REWE, already have a firm place on the shelves for their own coconut juice brands.

Patented natural process converts sugar to fibers in just one-step

Better Juice Ltd. has developed innovative technology to reduce the load of simple sugars in orange juice. The patent-pending enzymatic technology uses all-natural ingredients to convert monosaccharides and disaccharides (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) into prebiotic and other non-digestible fibers and sugars, while keeping the juicy flavor of the beverage.

Popular juices, such as orange juice and apple juice, have nearly 1 oz. (25 g) of sugar per 1-cup serving (250 ml). Although juice contains the vitamins and minerals you’d find in fresh produce, it’s devoid of most of the natural dietary fiber as an outcome of traditional methods of juicing. In addition to its intrinsic health benefits, fiber also adds to the feeling of fullness.

Better Juice’s process harnesses a natural enzymatic activity in non-GMO microorganisms to convert a portion of the simple fructose, glucose, and sucrose sugars into fibers and other non-digestible natural sugars. The process works on all types of sugars. Yet the process preserves the great flavor and the full complement of vitamins and other nutrients inherent in the fruits. The technology was developed in collaboration with Hebrew University in Rehovot, Israel.

“This natural a non fermentative process occurs without adding or removing ingredients,” says Eran Blachinsky, PhD, Founder and CEO of Better Juice. “It also will not alter the flavor or aroma of the juice.” Better Juice uses an advanced solution that involves just one short and simple pass-through step in the juice-making process, allowing the product to be marketed at a price point comparable to other premium juice products.

”While the process does slightly reduce the sweetness of the juice,” explains Blachinsky, “It actually brings out more of the fruit flavor, making for a better-tasting juice product overall.”

Better Juice conducted several trials with different beverage companies and succeeded in reducing sugars in orange juice from 30 %, up to 80 %. The start-up can now provide proof of concept for orange juice.

Mono-and disaccharides – often called “simple sugars” – are easy for the body to digest and thus quickly metabolized. If the energy they provide can’t be used, it is converted to fat and stored. But when these individual sugar molecules link up, they become prebiotic fibers that are non-digestible. The shorter of these fibers, called oliggosaccharides, are still sweet yet have been shown to bestow a number of health benefits, from protecting against disease to helping manage weight. There are other natural monosaccharides that are not easily digested. These sugars have no glycemic index and low caloric values.

“Consumers, especially children, enjoy drinking natural juices but are not always aware of the less nutritious aspects of juice,” notes Blachinsky. “They want the whole package — great flavor, health, and natural ingredients, including the fibers that are essential part of fruits.”

The company will market an advanced device with the unique technology to fruit juice producers and, eventually, to cafés and restaurants.