- An Israel-based startup is using patent-pending enzymatic technology to convert the sugars in orange juice to fibers, which reduces the amount of the naturally occurring sweetener in the product, according to Food Ingredients First. The technology was developed in collaboration with Hebrew University.
- Better Juice said in a release that it uses all-natural ingredients to convert monosaccharides and disaccharides — fructose, glucose and sucrose — into prebiotic and other non-digestible fibers and sugars while keeping the juicy flavor of the beverage.
- In several trials with different beverage companies, Better Juice said its technology reduced sugars in orange juice by 30% to 80%. The company also said it plans to market a device with the technology to fruit juice producers and eventually to cafés and restaurants.
Better Juice may have found a way to help boost juice consumption. The $19.8-billion market is projected to drop 7% between 2016 and 2021 as consumers look for lower-sugar options, according to Mintel. One in five people who buy juice say it has too much sugar to be a healthy choice, the market research firm added.
Due to the sugar and calories it contains, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended no fruit juice for children younger than 1. Better Juice noted that popular juices, such as orange juice and apple juice, contain nearly 1 ounce of sugar per cup.
The Israeli company doesn't publicly share the details of its enzymatic process, so it's hard to tell how well it would scale up for wider applications. Apparently Better Juice will be selling a device containing the technology to juice companies and cafés and restaurants. This could limit its appeal depending on the cost and how complicated it is to operate. However, the company said the solution "involves just one short and simple pass-through step in the juice-making process, allowing the product to be marketed at a price point comparable to other premium juice products."
Consumers who like the result would be the final judge of whether this enzymatic technology will be accepted. Better Juice Founder and CEO Eran Blachinsky believes they will because the process is natural and doesn't alter the juice's flavor or aroma. "While the process does slightly reduce the sweetness of the juice, it actually brings out more of the fruit flavor, making for a better-tasting juice product overall," he said in a release.
Because the Better Juice process results in more fiber, consumers may view it as healthier. The fiber also adds a feeling of fullness, the company points out, so it's possible that juices put through this technology would be seen as containing more functional ingredients even if they're not advertised as such. Still, it's a delicate balance when it comes to the perception of processing, so the company would be wise to fully explain its technique so interested consumers won't conclude the juice is too altered from its natural state.