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Another innovative way to sugar reduction for juices

Adding to an array of innovative technologies seeking ways for sugar reduction in juices, here is news of a fermentation solution.

Tetra Pak and Portuguese F&B company, Sumol+Compal, have co-developed a fermentation technology that reduces the sugar content in juices.

Historically, juice has lagged behind in the beverage space in sugar reduction measures, however, this new innovation could be a “game changer”, the duo believe.

Involving ten years of R&D, three main factors combined have led to its development, says Maria Norlin, sub category manager JNSD, processing systems, business unit liquid food at Tetra Pak,

“Consumers have requested products with less sugar, but a high nutritional content, for a long time. This, together with the call from public health authorities strongly recommending lower sugar consumption, has put pressure on producers and led to a great need for this product,” she explains. 

In Spain, 75% of juice consumers cited sugar as the reason for limiting their juice and smoothie intake. Sugar content in juice is also an important consideration with 43% of Chinese consumers.

In the UK, 42% of juice consumers claim that “health benefits” would encourage them to spend more on juice.

Scaling desugared juice to market

The fermentation-driven technology employed by Tetra Pak and Sumol+Compal can reduce sugar levels down to zero while maintaining the nutritional value of the juice. No additional ingredients or stabilisers are required. 

The solution reduces sugar through batch fermentation, followed by yeast removal and alcohol extraction using a clarifier and a dealcoholization unit.

“We do this very gently to secure the product’s quality and avoid sensory impact,” says Norlin.

Taking out the sugar not the taste

Paulo Marques, head of the biotechnology unit at Sumol+Compal says: “We just use fermentation to convert virtually all the sugars in the juice to alcohol, much like what happens in wine-making and what we do then is remove the alcohol from the juice.”

Marques explains that this is done in a way that retains the juice pulp, aroma concentration and acidity. 

“The idea is very simple but the devil is in the details,” he continues. Marques. “This helps us get a taste profile that is close to the original juice.” 

Tetra Pak reports that almost a third of the $1.5-billion invested in alternative proteins last year was allocated to companies using fermentation. Consumer demand has grown significantly for this type of product, the company asserts.