Natural sweetener created by upcycling fruit waste

Thursday, 15 April, 2021

Netherlands-based food ingredient manufacturer Fooditive BV has produced a natural sugar substitute by upcycling food waste.

Initially conceptualised in 2018, the company collaborated with Dutch farmers to salvage organic and non-organic unwanted apples and pears. It also collects the side streams of these fruits from other production processes. Once gathered, a continuous fermentation process is used to extract fructose and convert it into keto-fructose, creating a plant-based sweetener that is chemical-free with no calories.

The fermentation process is designed to allow for more sweetener to be yielded in a shorter amount of time.

Fooditive’s Product Development Manager, Niki Karatza, said developing a sweetener that could successfully replace sugar in food products required the company to first understand the true essence of sugar.

“We managed that by diving into the science behind sucrose, its taste and its unique functionalities.”

This was achieved through an innovative process: the reverse engineering of sucrose. By starting with the end product and working backwards, it allowed the company to analyse the ingredients’ properties and therefore understand how it could mimic the characteristics of sugar in its sweetener.

For 2021, founder and food scientist Moayad Abushokhedim has set a weekly goal to produce around 30 tonnes of the sweetener by upcycling 83 tonnes of third-grade fruit.

The ingredient is suitable for a range of products such as ice creams, jams and even beverages.

Image credit: Fooditive BV

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