Better Juice is an Israeli start-up which was founded in 2018 by a group of food scientists. It focuses on low-sugar fruit juices. Fruit juice no longer holds the healthy reputation it once did, thanks to its usually high sugar content. Better Juice’s tech aims to combat this.
They have recently trialled a process to reduce the sugar in fruit juice. This uses sugar-reducing beads to cut down the sugar content of a range of fruit juices by 30% and 50%. The recent trial included berry-based juices such as strawberry, blueberry and cherry,
In a partnership with the food processing tech supplier GEA Group, the start-up hosted several key fruit juice manufacturers from the EU, Australia, the US, and Brazil to reduce sugars in their products.
The trials, conducted in Ahaus, Germany, used non-genetically modified microorganisms to turn the fructose, sucrose, and glucose in the juice – three prominent sugars found in juice - into non-digestible fibres, including prebiotic oligosaccharides, whilst retaining the nutrients in the juice.
Better Juice has historically used orange juice, but for these trials, they mainly focused on berry juices. How did the process differ?
“The sugar ratio in the berry fruit juices is different,” Eran Blachinsky, Better Juice co-founder and Co-CEO, told FoodNavigator. “The pH varied a little bit and as well as the acidity. There are also the red characteristics of these fruits that need special attention.
“As for the sweetness, we do not add sweeteners. Our sugar reduction technology reduces sweetness but in 30% sugar reduction it is sweet enough without adding back sweetness. The rest of the product development depends on the juice producers’ agenda.”
Health and texture
Fruit juice contains pulp, which is rich in fibre. The technology used by Better Juice retains this pulp, which also provides the juice’s texture. The technology proved successful both for NFC (not from concentrate) juices and concentrate juices.
“We keep the mouthfeel and the same natural flavour and smell,” Gali Yarom, Better Juice Co-CEO and co-founder, told FoodNavigator. However, this does reduce the sweetness a little bit.
According to Yarom, the health improvements from the process of sugar reduction are significant as well. “We are able to reduce the glycaemic index in natural berry and other fruit juices by reducing glucose, which is the most significant for diabetes,” she told us. “We reduce fructose, the main cause of obesity, and we enrich the product with dietary fibres, which are prebiotics and can improve our gut health.”
While the technology in question is currently used for fruit juices, and has recently been used on berry fruit juices, there is a possibility that it could be used for other beverages as well.
“We are testing our proprietary technology on a range of products with leading food and beverage companies,” Yarom said. “For example, we intend to treat milk, honey, maple, beer, or any other natural sugar in the future.”