After five years of R&D at its Bebedouro site in Brazil, Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) has developed sugar reduction technology for not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice.
According to Juan José Banchard, Global Head of Juice at LDC, the new product represents ‘another positive step’ in the company’s strategy to ‘diversify revenue through value-added products’.
Enzyme technology, with no sweeteners
The sugar reduction technology was developed by a team of food engineers, chemists, and biotechnologists.
But its achievement does not lie in sugar reduction alone. The product meets four important aspects, a LDC spokesperson explained: sugar reduction, higher fibre content, maintenance of the main characteristics of standard organic juice – especially the taste and vitamin C content – and lastly, scalability.
This is all achieved thanks to an enzyme, the spokesperson revealed. “There is no use of sweeteners, inulin, or other ingredients.”
The result is a NFC orange juice with 30% less sugar and more than triple the dietary fibre content, to add to company’s portfolio of juices and ingredients from Brazilian-grown citrus fruits.
As to whether the technology could be used in other applications, the spokesperson told us LDC is able to produce ‘large volumes’ of reduced sugar products to meet its customers’ needs.
“The technology…is more suitable for not-from-concentrate orange juice. However, in addition, we are exploring ways to further reduce the level of sugar in orange juice and apply to process to other fruit juices.”
Meeting demand for sugar reduced products
LDC said the innovation aligns with its commitment to offer ‘nutritious, high-quality juices’ that address growing consumer demand. Indeed, sugar reduction has become a macro health trend among consumers.
According to Euromonitor research, consumers are increasingly citing sugar reduction as one of their top health priorities, particularly when it comes to weight management. More than half (53%) of consumers in the global market intelligence firm’s 2021 Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey, cited ‘eat less sugar’ as their preferred method of weight loss.
LDC plans to bring its new product to market in collaboration with ‘leading beverage industry players’.
“Our initial commercial focus is on growing Asia Pacific consumer markets, including a launch in China early 2023, where panel testing indicated strong interest from Asian consumers,” the spokesperson revealed.
“But we also see market opportunities in North America, Europe and South America, where we see strong demand for healthy, nutritious and tasty products.”
At the same time, LDC will continue to continue to invest in R&D activities, targeting further reductions in sugar content.