Better Juice and GEA establish sugar-reduction innovation centre

Better Juice and GEA establish sugar-reduction innovation centre

The GEA Better Juice Sugar Converter Skid is included in GEA’s innovation centre in Germany and incorporates Better Juice sugar reduction technology. Image: Better Juice

Israeli start-up Better Juice, and GEA Group, Germany, have established a new pilot facility, inviting juice manufacturers to test their sugar-reduction technology.

Starting in mid-July 2022, GEA and 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 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.

“We can now collaborate with our customers at the Test Center to strike the ideal balance between a sweet note and reduced sugar content,” said Gali Yarom, co-founder and joint CEO of Better Juice.

“The pilot centre creates a high-tech venue where we can host companies — from EU, but also from all over the world — to come see, learn, plug in, and actually taste their products after they’ve been recreated with Better Juice process in a workshop environment,” added Yarom.

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. A Better Juice team, together with GEA expert engineers, will be on site to accompany and guide visiting companies during their trials.

“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,” said Sascha Wesely who leads the non-alcoholic beverages business at GEA. “The Ahaus trials help us optimise process efficiency right from the outset. By running scalable tests under real-life conditions, we significantly cut the time to market.”

Thanks to a patented enzymatic process, according to GEA, this is the world’s first solution that naturally reduces the sugar content of fruit drinks by up to 80 per cent, without affecting its nutritional value or authentic taste.

Better Juice’s enzymatic process uses all-natural ingredients to convert simple sugars (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) into prebiotic dietary fibres and other non-digestible molecules, while maintaining the full flavour, body, and naturally occurring complement of vitamins and nutrients of the fruit. The GEA Better Juice Sugar Converter Skid can reduce up to 80% of sugars in natural fruit juices as well as in fruit-based compositions, such as purées.

The juice flows continuously through a bioreactor containing GMO-free, immobilised microorganisms which convert simple sugars into prebiotic, non-digestible molecules that benefit the intestinal flora.

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.

“We set up a readily accessible platform for juice and fruit processing companies seeking to actively contribute their part to the global quests for reducing sugar consumption and concurrently give their products an added wellness edge,” said Eran Blachinsky, PhD, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice. “It will also eliminate a significant portion of R&D costs and time.”

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