New machine promises improved pomegranate juice

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pomegranate juice

Hefestus is launching a processing machine for pomegranate fruit that allows firms to squeeze a juice at a reduced cost without the bitter tasting peel.

Pomegranate is one of the biggest superfruits on the market, and has risen to prominence in the last few years on the back of the health and wellness trends.

According to data from the Mintel GNPD database, the antioxidant-rich fruit was included in only a 159 new food and drink products in 2004 but since 2007 it has been an ingredient in well over 1000 new launches every year.

Processing challenges

But according to Israel-based Hefestus pomegranate juice drinks have often suffered from a bitter taste because processors commonly squeeze the juice from the whole fruit.

“Traditionally, processors squeeze pomegranate juice out in various ways including squeezing the juice with the peel, which causes a bitter taste due to the highly concentrated tannins in the peel and pith,” ​said Oded Shtemer, president and CEO of Hefestus.

Another alternative is to peel and deseed manually the fruit but this can be a complicated and expensive process, so Hefestus has developed a system for separating out the component parts of the pomegranate fruit.

The processing machine, which will be launched at Fruit Logistic next month in Berlin, separates the peel from the aril, which is the fleshy cover of the seeds. It also separates out the pomegranate seeds.

Hefestus claims this enables beverage producers to easily extract a juice from the arils in an automated process that avoids the bitter taste caused by squeezing the whole fruit.

For processors that opt for manually peeling and deseeding the fruit, Shtemer said the technology shortens production time and sharply lowers labour costs.

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