Dispatches from Israel

Gan Shmuel delivers low sugar juices

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sugar

Gan Shmuel delivers low sugar juices
Israel's beverage behemoth Gan Shmuel Group claims it has developed low sugar pure juices that contain no added ingredients and are undiluted, yet retain a natural, sweet taste.

The prototype juices are one of two new product lines devised by the group, which clocks up annual sales of about $300m (€236.4m), food technologist Eli Budman told FoodNavigator during a trade tour of Israel.

"There is not such a product on the market," said Budman. "There are products called 'light juices', but if they have reduced sugar it is because the juice is diluted and it's therefore a kind of a juice drink, not a pure juice. The challenge was the reduction of sugar contained in the fruit, while keeping the level of all other nutrients."

"The new juice contains 25-30% less sugar than the equivalent standard juice and eight times more fibre. There is a significant level of prebiotic fibre. We do not add fibre, just natural flavour." The level of sugar reduction represented a 15% reduction in calories, he said.

Convert sugars into fibres

According to the Brix scale, which is used for measuring sweetness in beverages, Budman said Gan Shmuel's new juice registered at about 11.2. About 60% of the sweetness came from the naturally present sugar in the juice and the remnant came from fibre, he said. "There are no added natural or artificial sweeteners. We convert the sugars into fibres." However, he refused to divulge any further the precise process used.

Gan Shmuel supplies the raw material for its drinks to bottlers across the globe, who then mass produce them. "These bottlers may then decide to add sweetener as per the market."

Novel foods approval

The new range still faced a problem concerning marketing definitions, said Budman. "If you change the chemical composition of juice you cannot call it juice. We are looking for a strategic commercial partner that can deal with this problem." Further consultation was therefore needed before any products could be launched in Europe, because that might require novel foods approval, he said.

Budman said he saw two big markets for the juices: older, health conscious consumers and mothers worried about their children's sugar consumption. Gan Shmuel was happy for its new juice to be launched as an own label or branded product.

Reduced salt

At the same time as launching the low sugar juices, Gan Shmuel had developed a flavouring for reduced salt products. The company had worked with LycoRed to develop its Sante tomato extract-based flavouring line, which had been launched last year to offset reductions in salt. Consequently it had the right to improve on Sante. "This is Sante plus," said Budman. It was suitable for salt reduction of up to 50%, he said.

"We use only a physical process of separation of the tomato extract, so it can be labelled as tomato solids and all-natural." Gan Shmuel had patent pending status on the process in the US and Europe and already held a patent for the markets in Israel and Russia.

More than 80% of Gan Shmuel's products are exported outside of Israel to clients in more than 45 countries.

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