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Nutrition

Start-up Better Juice completes successful pilot for technology that reduces natural sugars in fruit juice

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
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Berry smoothie with fresh blueberries on a black stone background.

Israeli start-up Better Juice has completed a series of successful pilot trials for its technology that reduces simple sugars in a range of fruit juices.

The company partnered with food processing technology supplier GEA Group to use its sugar reducing technology on fruit juice brands from manufacturers in Europe, USA, Australia, and Brazil.

Natural fruit juice is packed with a large number of essential vitamins and minerals, but it also contains high levels of naturally occurring sugars. While these are preferable to added sugars, they still cause blood sugar spikes, which eventually can potentially increase the risk of developing issues with kidneys, heart, and eyes long-term, as well as causing weight gain and developing diabetes.

During the trials, which took place at the GEA Group innovation centre in Ahaus, Germany, the Better Juice team successfully reduced simple sugar levels by 30% and 50% in a range of fruit juices, including strawberry, blueberry, and cherry.

According to the company, its technology works by passing the product through a ‘continuous flow’ bioreactor containing non-GMO microorganisms that can bio-convert sucrose into dietary fibre, glucose into gluconic acid, and fructose to sorbitol.

The technology doesn’t change the texture of the juice and still maintains some of its original sweetness, the company says. It also doesn’t affect its overall smell or vitamin composition.

“Fruit juices contain 10% or more sugar, with berry and cherry juices comprised of 10%-20% sucrose and the remainder fructose and glucose,” said Eran Blachinsky, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Better Juice. “Our technology reduces loads of all three of these simple sugars. This will allow more people to enjoy berry-based juices.”

The trials were successful in both not from concentrate and dense concentrates, and juices with pulp.

As well as helping manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of fruit juices, the company says its technology aims to eliminate the need to filter juices and help more manufacturers retain the high-fibre fruit pulp in their drinks.

“By implementing a ‘plug-and-play’ approach, we were able to produce juices with the same nutritional value and mouthfeel as the original products, with only a slightly toned-down sweetness,” Gali Yarom, Better Juice co-founder and Co-CEO added. “The feedback was most promising, with several companies expressing a strong interest in continuing to work with us to bring these products to market.”

Better Juice is currently engaged in discussions with several US-based fruit juice companies to advance the installation of the technology in their manufacturing spaces, according to Yarom, and the first successful sugar-reduced berry juices could be seen in supermarkets in the country from early 2024.

Michael Harenkamp, Sales Support Engineer for Non-Alcoholic Beverages for GEA also added: “Since the opening of the pilot facility last year, we have hosted dozens of companies from all over the world to test their juice brands on our technology as well as on other fruit-based products, such as jams”.

“We are excited by the emerging demand for naturally sugar-reduced juices in the marketplace. Some of the participants are major global players who have expressed genuine enthusiasm about our combined solution and the prospect of giving their products a new competitive edge with lowered-sugar fruit juices that are still as nutritious and refreshingly delicious.”

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