Tetra Pak and Sumol+Compal fermentation tech poised to slash sugar in juices
29 Nov 2021 --- Tetra Pak and Sumol+Compal have co-developed a fermentation-driven technology that reduces the sugar content in juice following ten years of R&D.
Historically, juice has lagged behind in the beverage space in sugar reduction measures, however, this new innovation could be a “game changer.”
Three main factors combined have led to the development of this technology, Maria Norlin, sub category manager JNSD, processing systems, business unit liquid food at Tetra Pak, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“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, which strongly recommend lower sugar consumption, has put pressure on producers and led to a great need for this product,” she explains.
Fermentation technologies highly sought after
Tetra Pak reports that almost a third of the US$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.
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.
“All the sugar is removed during fermentation. Then the yeast is removed in the clarifier. Removing the yeast cells stops the fermentation process,” Norlin outlines.
“We do this very gently to secure the product’s quality and avoid sensory impact,” says Norlin.
Taking out the sugar not the taste
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 stabilizers are required.
The solution enables desugared juice to be scaled to market, reducing sugar through batch fermentation, followed by yeast removal and alcohol extraction using a clarifier and a dealcoholization unit.
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.”
By Inga de Jong
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