The GEA Better Juice Sugar Converter Skid has been set up within GEA’s innovation centre on Germany’s western border.
Expected to be fully operational by mid-July this year, the facility is fitted out with GEA processing equipment for Better Juice’s sugar reduction technology.
The pilot centre creates a ‘high-tech venue’ where Better Juice can host companies to ‘see, learn, plug in, and actually taste their products’ after they’ve been recreated with Better Juice’s tech, explained Gali Yarom, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice.
“Here, we can now collaborate with our customers at the test centre to strike the ideal balance between a sweet note and reduced sugar note.”
Turning simple sugar into fibre
Better Juice’s technology aims to reduce the amount of sugar in fruit juices, while increasing dietary fibre content.
The start-up’s continuous flow sugar reduction process converts simple sugar to fibres and non-digestible natural sugars. It is founded on an enzymatic process, based on non-GMO microorganisms.
Better Juice claims its technology does all this while maintaining the full flavour, body, and naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients of the fruit.
It can reduce up to 80% sugars in natural fruit juices as well as in fruit-based compositions, such as purées.
GEA: ‘A true game-changer impact’
By setting up a ready accessible platform for juice and fruit processing companies, it is expected juice makers working to lower sugar content can significantly reduce their R&D costs.
For GEA, the partnership offers an opportunity to take part in ‘leading the sugar reduction market’, said co-CEO Eran Blachinsky. “Under the collaboration, GEA provide the needed equipment and technical support to our customers globally, and we supply the sugar-reduction technology,” he told this publication.
Sascha Wesely, who leads GEA’s activities in the non-alcoholic beverage business, said the collaboration ‘cements’ its foothold in the ‘world of innovation’ as the two companies work together to make a ‘true game-changer impact’.
“In return, we bring Better Juice all the corporate and technical support it needs to propel this venture to success.”
Better Juice ‘on track’ for EFSA approval
Better Juice sees ‘huge’ potential for its sugar reduction technology ‘all over Europe’.
“Many European companies have approached us,” Blachinsky revealed. “Sugar reduction is not just a trend, as many countries have already set up regulations pushing for sugar reduction in food and beverage products and consumers are consistently demanding and seeking better-for-you alternatives.”
The co-CEO stressed that although the new facility is located in Germany, it is not intended to focus solely on the European market.
“We have some partnerships in the US, APAC, and Europe. We have already scheduled several companies for trials at the GEA centre in the upcoming weeks. They are not only arriving from Europe, but also from the US and Latin America.”
Better Juice has yet to receive regulatory approval within Europe, but told FoodNavigator the process is ‘on track’. “We have submitted the official request to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for Novel Food and intend to be certified by the end of Q1 2023.”