GEA and Better Juice have partnered to support beverage farmers in developing healthier, lower-sugar fruit juice.
FREMONT, CA: GEA, a process engineering group, and Better Juice, an Israeli food technology start-up, have partnered to support beverage farmers in developing healthier, lower-sugar fruit juice. Better Juice has devised a new solution that naturally decreases the amount of sugar in fresh juice by up to 80 percent without impacting its nutritional value or taste. GEA is now engineering the start-up requirements of process technology by bringing this groundbreaking approach on track for industrial production.
Demand for a healthier juice
In order to respond more rapidly to business dynamics and explore potential solutions, GEA also works with innovation partners, like start-ups. One of the key concepts in the food industry today is decreasing the sugar burden in the diets because people who eat excess sugar are more likely to be overweight, obese, or suffer from conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Therefore, to minimize fruit juice's calorie content, the industry has had to deal with sweeteners and additives, whether natural or artificial.
Enzymatic sugar reduction
The solution used for Better Juice uses microorganisms. "The enzymes of which convert the sucrose, fructose and glucose in fresh fruit juice into more nutritious dietary fiber. This reduces the juice's sweetness but does not affect its texture or vitamin composition," summarizes Gali Yarom, Co-founder and COO of Better Juice, the process. Manufacturers could decrease the sugar content by between 20 and 80 percent, depending on customer preferences.
"The major hurdle in continuous flow reduction of sugars in natural juices is keeping the process contamination-free without damaging the enzymatic activity – particularly in large-scale production. This is an example of an area where GEA's expertise can ensure a high-quality product," says Yarom. By working with GEA's experts, who have decades of juice processing experience, the enzyme technology can be smoothly integrated into existing juice production plants.
"We need to create an ideal environment for this sensitive process – the right temperatures, surfaces and conditions," adds Franz-Josef Helms, Engineering Manager for Non-alcoholic Beverage Production at GEA. "The entire process design is therefore engineered for optimum performance under very demanding aseptic production conditions. This enables continuous juice flow for weeks without recontamination."