Page 10 - Ameft Journal 2021-III
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                FOCUS BEVERAGES   Juice production at Better Juice (Image Copyright: Tim Luhmann) GEA and Better Juice break new grounds   Process engineering group GEA and Israeli foodtech start-up Better- Juice have joined forces to help bever- age manufacturers produce healthier, lower-sugar fruit juice. Better Juice has developed a groundbreaking solution that naturally reduces the amount of sugar in fresh juice by up to 80%, without affecting its nutritional val- ue or taste. GEA is now engineering the process technology the start-up needs, setting this innovative solu- tion on course for industrial produc- tion. Demand for healthier juice GEA frequently works with innova- tion partners such as start-ups in order to react more quickly to market trends and explore alternative solutions. Re- ducing the amount of sugar in our di- ets is one of the dominant themes in the food industry today, since people who consume excess sugar are more likely to be overweight, obese, or suf- fer from conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Although the 10 AMEFT 3 2021 COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for orange juice as a vitamin- rich, immune-boosting drink\[1\], the high fruit sugar levels in fresh juice mean more health-conscious consum- ers avoid it. If drinks manufacturers want to win back this customer group, they need to reduce the sugar content of their fruit juice. Up until now, the in- dustry has had to make do with sweet- eners and additives – whether natural or artificial – to reduce the calorie con- tent of fruit juice. Enzymatic sugar reduction Better Juice’s solution uses micro- organisms instead. “The enzymes of which convert the sucrose, fructose and glucose in fresh fruit juice into- more nutritious dietary fibre. This reduces the juice’s sweetness but does not affect its texture or vitam in composition,” summarizes GaliYarom, co-founder and COO of Better Juice. Based on consumer preferences, man- ufacturers could reduce the sugar con- tent between 20 and 80 percent. Bio reactor added to juice- making process The patent-pending system adds just one short step to the production process: immobilised, non-GMO mi- cro organisms are contained in a type of fixed bed through which the juice passes. They feed on the juice and the enzymes within the micro organisms, converting the sugar into dietary fibre. Based on a Better Juice prototype, GEA is to develop, construct and put in to operation a bio reactor skid for the en- zymatic sugar-reduction process. The GEA process module will be fully automated and fitted with clean-in- place (CIP) functionality to ensure a continuous, hygienic flow. Better Juice will provide the required media, name- ly the immobilised micro organisms. Contamination-free process “The major hurdle in continuous flow reduction of sugars in natural juices is keeping the process contam- ination- free without damaging the 

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