Better Juice, Ltd. has announced completion of a series of pilot trials for reducing simple sugars in natural berry and other fruit juices. In partnership with GEA Group, Better Juice hosted berry fruit juice manufacturers from the EU, U.S., Australia and Brazil to reduce sugar using technology.

The trials were conducted at the pilot innovation unit established last year in GEA’s innovation center in Ahaus, Germany. Accommodating the GEA Better Juice Sugar Converter Skid, the site is equipped with continuous flow columns containing Better Juice’s sugar-reducing beads. During the trials, the team was able to reduce the simple sugar content by 30% and 50% across a range of fruit juices, including strawberry, cherry and blueberry, while preserving flavors and textures.

“Fruit juices contain 10% or more sugar, with berry and cherry juices comprised of 10%-20% sucrose and the remainder fructose and glucose,” explains Eran Blachinsky, co-founder and co-CEO of Better Juice. “Our technology reduces loads of these simple sugars.”

Forming Better Juice’s sugar-reduction beads are non-GMO microorganisms that convert the juice’s composition of sucrose, glucose and fructose into prebiotic oligosaccharides and other non-digestible fibers, while retaining nutrients.

Better Juice is now in discussions with U.S.-based fruit juice companies to install its technology in their juice production systems. It projects sugar-reduced berry fruit juices will be on shelves early next year.

The treatment process worked for both clear NFC (not from concentrate) juices and dense concentrates as well as pulp-retained juices. Juice manufacturers use concentrates to reduce shipping costs by evaporating the water and adding it back in at the destination during bottling.

Berry and cherry fruit juices are naturally abundant in pulp, which is why many juice companies strive to retain this in their products. Better Juice’s technology has been designed to handle pulp and ensure it remains in the juice, eliminating the need for filtering. 

“Since the opening of the pilot facility last year, we have hosted dozens of companies from all over the world to test their juice brands on our technology as well as on other fruit-based products, such as jams,” adds Michael Harenkamp, sales support engineer for Non-Alcoholic Beverages for GEA.