Features

  • 14 Nov
    Juice Summit: fresh ideas on tap

    Juice Summit: fresh ideas on tap

    This year’s Juice Summit in Antwerp was another great success for the organisers, reports Caroline Whibley

    In a packed programme the AIJN, together with its partners the IFU and SGF, produced an outstanding agenda that managed to cover a very wide variety of issues and challenges for the future of the fruit juice industry.

    Challenges it seems are many, perhaps never before has the food & drink industry so much change and uncertainty. Roll back 50 years or so and a marketer’s biggest problem would be how to introduce new brands, how to get people to switch – a tough challenge. Today however we seem to be hopping about all over the place – achieving long term ‘brand loyalty’ with something new is to be dreamed about.

    So much of the talk in the crowd was about steps to reduce sugar, ‘mindful choices’ just one of the many phrases, ‘putting a fresh spin’ on everything and how to deliver ‘novel experiences’ – what happened to producing fruit juice hey!?

    Slavery-free-products were talked about across the fruit juice industry with some surprising facts that needed more time and new non-thermal tech in the processing sector with ultra-rapid processing key to speeding up the fruit-to-product process with new microbiological breakthroughs.

    Speakers and panellists at the Summit went on to share their vision in a number of stimulating sessions over a two-day programme including: Dynamics of the Global Fruit Juice Market, Trends & Challenges for the Agro-Food & Fruit Juice Industry, The Juice Supply Chain – Outlook & Challenges, Tapping into the Mind of the Consumer, and various regional market updates.

    “92% of 18-35 year olds

    are now consuming

    snacks instead of meals”

    What are the global trends and where are the emerging markets? What are the challenges?  Crop disease, disastrous weather patterns, political manoeverings, China, and of course Brexit. If only we had a crystal ball on that one.  I’m hoping, that Brexit becomes like the millennium bug we all worried about and we just move forward in a rational manner and continue doing what we do best with no disasters. But I think I am a glass is half full person . . .

    ‘Snackification’ was a term Welch’s used which stood out for me, referring to a study that stated that 92% of 18-35 year olds are now consuming snacks instead of meals. We have seen a 25% increase in fruit & vegetable snack launches from 2012-16. They also commented that words like ‘healthfulness’ resonated with customers when making their purchasing choices.

    It does seem sort of ironic that the ‘healthfulness’ marketing might be getting through, i.e. consumer thinks they have done something healthy because they have been told the product is healthy for them . . . but are they actually being healthy if they rely on ‘snacking’ for sustenance? I don’t know? Breakfast, lunch and dinner is looking to be on the way out as a timetable for eating and drinking with young people, I’m just wondering what the long term effect will be.

    Tetrapak also refer to consumers increasingly looking for an easy shopping experience, and the effect of the growth of online retail. Packaging it seems needs to be able to survive in an e-commerce world, as new digital printing code-based consumer ‘engagement’ solutions were discussed.

    I thought the Nova School of Business Economics presentation by Jao Castro was ‘novel’ in itself, with the use of ‘Economist’ magazine cover statements to illustrate his point. Changing consumer behaviour he’s noting is something that worries marketers who would like to put people into their little boxes and keep them there, but change also provides an opportunity, the very fact that consumers ‘bring on’ change far more easily than they used to decades ago, shows that we are increasingly becoming receptive to new ideas and new thinking and this can only provide opportunities. Moreover it provides opportunities for new companies and start-ups too who would previously found too many barriers to launch. Online marketing, social media marketing are perfect for ‘guerrilla brands’ to sneak in and gain an audience.

    The Juice Summit is organized by and for the industry, which makes it a unique experience in this field. Thanks to its success over the last six events, the Juice Summit is now a global, annual conference which guarantees the presence of renowned industry experts who are active on both the European and international juice scene.

    For more information regarding the speakers and programme e: charlotte.meuwis@aijn.org

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 17 Sep
    Time to get grapefruit juice back on the menu

    Time to get grapefruit juice back on the menu

    Grapefruit juice could be the next big thing if marketers get it right suggests Caroline Whibley. 

    The health benefits of this wonder fruit really are encouraging.

    It wasn’t long ago households regularly bought grapefruit for breakfast or drank the ‘tart’ grapefruit juice, and told themselves they were being healthy. In fact, back in the 30s the Grapefruit Diet, also called the Hollywood Diet, involved having grapefruit or grapefruit juice with every meal while cutting back on calories.  People swore by it. Grapefruit has a long history with being associated with good health so where is it heading now?

    ‘In tests mice fed fatty foods

    and juice gained 18%

    less weight than others’

    Lately the consumption of grapefruit juice has declined sharply, following the accidental discovery of the interaction between grapefruit juice and certain drugs, particularly statins, extensively prescribed as cholesterol reducers. Grapefruit juice was found to interfere with the absorption of the drugs in the small intestine, thus affecting their bioavailability and increasing their toxicity. Suddenly you find the juice on the no-no list of what not to consume from your doctor.  However rather than spending a lifetime on statins surely we need to be teaching the public to consume food & drinks and health regimes that help them to keep a lower cholesterol – are statins a sticky plaster rather than really treating anything at all, and yes they benefit many, however . . .

    Long term I think we all want to see more healthy remedies to our ills, so I’m pretty positive about grapefruit juice and think it’s one to watch out for, if we can get the marketing right this dynamo juice really has some excellent benefits according to organic associations, health specialists and the science arena . . .

    Grapejuice helps reduce the effect of fatty food

    According to scientists grapefruit juice really can help us lose weight.  It is said drinking grapefruit juice when eating fatty food can help reduce weight put on by a fifth – now that is a nice statistic. They also say fruit juice could keep blood sugar levels under control. In tests mice fed fatty foods and juice gained 18% less weight than others. The research also suggested that grapefruit could be as good as prescription drugs at keeping blood sugar levels under control – a key part of managing diabetes. Professor Joseph Napoli, of the University of California, Berkeley, said: “We see all sorts of scams about nutrition.

    But these results, based on controlled experiments, warrant further study of the potential health-promoting properties of grapefruit juice.” The British Dietetic Association said the fruit now needs to be thoroughly tested in humans to see if it could help with weight loss and stem the rise of obesity and diabetes.

    Benefits

    Grapefruit juice carries a range of health benefits, they are low in calories but are full of nutrients, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

    Harvard Medical School states that grapefruit has a glycemic index of 25. This suggests that it does not significantly affect blood sugar and insulin levels. Many studies have suggested that increasing the consumption of plant foods such as grapefruit decreases the risk of  obesity, diet, heart disease and overall mortality while. It is also said to promote a healthy complexion, increased energy, and lower overall weight.

    Stroke

    According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of flavonoid may lower the risk of ischemic stroke  for women. Flavonoids are compounds found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit. The risk of ischemic stroke was 19% lower for those who consumed the highest amounts of citrus than for women who consumed the lowest amounts.

    Blood pressure and heart health

    The powerful nutrient combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C, and choline in grapefruit juice all help to maintain a healthy heart. In one study those who consumed 4069 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one grapefruit with a 3-to-3.5-inch diameter contains 139 mg potassium. Grapefruit juice is an excellent option for helping to increase the daily intake of potassium. Increasing potassium intake is also important for lowering blood pressure because of its powerful vasodilation effects. Vasodilation widens the arteries. The DASH diet, designed to reduce blood pressure through dietary options, includes grapefruit as a recommended food.

    Cancer

    Grapefruit juice is a rich source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C. These can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake  has been linked with a decreased risk of prostrate cancer in several studies.

    Digestion & hydration

    The Grapefruit , because of its water and fiber content, helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Grapefruit consists of 91% water. This makes it one of the most hydrating fruits available. Grapefruit juice is also full of electrolytes.

     

    ‘The juice or grapefruit itself contains valuable and natural quinine, which is advantageous for the treatment of malaria’

    Skin

    Grapefruit juice has been linked to healthy skin. However, caution is advised for people who spend a lot of time in the sun.

    The antioxidant vitamin C can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture when eaten in food or applied to the skin. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen , the main support system of the skin. Regular hydration and vitamin A are also crucial for healthy-looking skin. Grapefruit provides both of these.

    Treat Influenza

    Grapefruit juice is a valuable remedy for influenza since it helps minimize acidity in the system. The bitter properties arising from an essence called ‘naringin’ in grapefruits tone up the system and the digestive process.  Naringin is also considered a flavonoid, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities, making them one of the most important lines of defense in the immune system, protecting against influenza as well as many other serious conditions.

    Treat Malaria

    The juice or grapefruit itself contains valuable and natural quinine, which is advantageous for the treatment of malaria. Quinine is an alkaloid with a long history of treating malaria, as well as lupus, arthritis and nocturnal leg cramps.  It is not an easy component to find in many foods, so grapefruits are a beneficial and rare example. The quinine can be easily extracted from the fruits by boiling a quarter of grapefruit and straining the pulp.

    Cure Fever

    The pulp or the juice of grapefruit helps patients recover quickly from fever, and it reduces the burning sensation that occurs when the body reaches a high temperature. It is also known as a way to boost the immune system against cold and other common illnesses. Grapefruit juice, when combined with water, can quench thirst very quickly and keep you hydrated for longer. Most of these benefits come from the high content of vitamin C in grapefruits, which acts as a general immune system defense system and can help the body in fighting the fever.

    Promote Sleep

    A glass of grapefruit juice, if consumed before going to bed, can promote healthy sleep and alleviate the irritating symptoms and repercussions of insomnia. This is due to the presence of tryptophan in grapefruits, the chemical we often associate with becoming sleepy after big meals. The levels of tryptophan in grapefruit juice enable us to nod off peacefully.

    Treat Urinary Disorders

    Grapefruit juice is quite rich in potassium and vitamin C, so it is one of the best treatments for issues related to urination often caused by liver, kidney or heart problems. Furthermore, its high potassium content works as a vasodilator, meaning that blood vessels and arteries relax, thereby reducing blood pressure and lessening the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Also, increased levels of potassium have been associated with higher cognitive function because of increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain!

    STATS

    • Revenue in the Grapefruit Juice segment amounts to US$276m in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 0.8% (CAGR 2018-2021).
    • From an international perspective it is shown that most revenue is generated in the United States (US$314m in 2018).
    • Sources: Science Direct, Medical News Today, Organicsfacts.net, Healthline.com, Mail Online, Statistica.com
    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 17 Sep
    Trade spat hits juice trade

    Trade spat hits juice trade

    Cranberry juice and orange juice have been dragged into the crossfire in a trade dispute between the United States and the European Union, reports Chris Lyddon.

    Hit by EU reaction to an American decision to slap tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium. The row started on 1 March when President Trump imposed extra import duties on EU exports of steel and aluminium on exports of steel and aluminium from the EU and other countries to the US. The duties were 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium.

    EU adopts rebalancing measures in reaction to US steel and aluminium tariffs.

    The EU responded with what it called ‘rebalancing measures’ targeting products worth €2.8 billion and taking effect on 22 June. The EU’s list included not only steel and aluminium, but a long list of agricultural and industrial products. It includes orange and cranberry juice.

    The EU says it’s simply exercising its rights under World Trade Organisation rules. “We did not want to be in this position,” said “Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. “However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the US to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice.” The rules of international trade could not be violated without a response. “If the US removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed,” Malmström said. The EU says the actual trade value of the steel and aluminium affected by the US measures is €6.4 billion. It will come up with a further €3.6 billion of ‘rebalancing’ in three years, or after a positive finding in a WTO dispute, which ever comes first.

    Canada has also responded by imposing tariffs on a list of products, including orange juice, which has faced a 10% tariff from 1 July. The total value of its list is C$16.6 billion, representing the value of the Canadian products affected by the US measures. “The unilateral trade restrictions by the United States are also in violation of NAFTA and WTO trade rules,” said in Ottawa on 31 May. “Canada will therefore launch dispute-settlement proceedings under NAFTA Chapter 20 and WTO Dispute Settlement.

    “Canada will also closely collaborate with like-minded WTO members, including the European Union, to challenge these illegal and counterproductive US measures at the WTO,” she said. Like the EU, she dismissed the US suggestion that its measures were justified by national security. “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States,” she said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking the same day, was more forthright on that subject. “For 150 years, Canada has been America’s most steadfast ally,” he said. “Canadians have served alongside Americans in two world wars and in Korea.”

    US cranberry producers have been hit from other directions. Mexico, also responding to Trump’s steel and aluminium duties, imposed a 20% tariff on dried cranberries in June. China has also imposed a tariff on dried cranberries from the US.

    The Wall Street Journal quoted Linda Prehn, a Wisconsin grower and president of the Cranberry Growers Cooperative, in an article on the world’s moves to retaliate against the cranberry. “It’s ironic,” she said. “I would say most Wisconsin cranberry growers supported Trump. They’d hate to see their businesses tank because of these tariffs.”

    An article published by the Capital Press website on 28 August, put the value of US exports of cranberries and cranberry products at about $300 million a year. It quoted, Terry Humfeld, Executive Director of the Massachusetts-based Cranberry Institute as saying that it was too early to say what the effect on the sector would be. “We believe there is an impact, but don’t have any numbers to back that up, and probably won’t for a few months,” he said.

    According to Ocean Spray, more than half the world’s cranberries come from the US state of Wisconsin. They are one of only three fruits native to North America.

    Speaking to the FreightWaves website, Kellyanne Dignan, Ocean Spray’s Director of Global Corporate Affairs, said that “any tariffs that increase the price of either our ingredient or branded products will hurt our farmer families’ bottom line.”

    “It is also important to note, the tariffs that have been placed on cranberry products do nothing but raise prices for global consumers, as there is no domestic production to protect outside of the US, Canada, and Chile,” she said.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 09 Aug
    Deionized juice an alternative to traditional added sugars

    Deionized juice an alternative to traditional added sugars

    By Juan Manuel Pérez, Quality Control Manager, Lemon Concentrate, Spain
     

    There is a growing mentality amongst consumers that added sugar in drinks, and in food in general, is detrimental to health. In some countries, such as the UK, a tax has been imposed on the addition of sugar in soft drinks and sweetened beverages.

    The tendency in Europe is to reduce the quantity of sugar added to food or use sugar from natural sources.

    An alternative option to traditional sugars is to use sugars derived from fruit or, in other words, deionized fruit juice concentrates. These are produced from squeezed fruit which is then filtered, decoloured, deionized and subsequently concentrated. Characteristics such as acidity, colour and flavour are eliminated during the process, resulting in a transparent, colourless concentrate with a neutral flavour constituted fundamentally by sugars derived from the fruit. This can then be used as a natural sweetener in many foods.

    These concentrates are mainly obtained from grape, apple and pear juice, although other fruits such as citruses, carob and pineapple can also be used.

    The principal nutritional benefit of these products is that they offer an ideal balance between the sugars from which they are constituted, a low glycaemic index and, as such, a slow increase in blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a specific foodstuff.

    Likewise, the use of these products allows for clean labelling as they can be denominated within a list of ingredients such as ‘fruit sugars’, as well as for possible claims such as ‘with 100% natural fruit sugars’.

     

    BOX-OUT BELOW

     

    Possible claims that can be used in products in which they are included are:

    • Contains natural fruit sugars
    • Low glycaemic index (provided it is shown in the incorporated food matrix)

     

    Possible denominations within the list of ingredients:

    • Concentrated fruit extract
    • Fruit sugar

     

    Origin, production and application

     

    In the industrial process, only physical extraction methods are applied so that the sugars that are naturally present remain in the final product. These sugars are in no way obtained using other techniques of hydrolysis of other superior sugars (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides) with the use of chemical products and/or enzymes. Figure 1 shows the flowchart of the manufacturing process.

     

    Fruit                                Extraction                          Clarification                       Purification                Concentration             Mixture                               Pasteurization                    Packaging           

     

    Figure 1: flowchart of the manufacturing process of deionized concentrate

    Source: Lemon Concentrate – www.lemonconcentrate.com

     

    The deionized fruit extract is a liquid in the form of a concentrated syrup containing a dry matter of 65-70% with a high viscosity. It has a sweet flavour similar to sucrose and its organoleptic properties allow for its application in various food matrices such a wide range of drinks, dairy products, ice creams, sweets, jams and confectionery depending on the application. This range of application can go from doses of very few g/kg even up to doses greater than 90g/kg). The brix level of the product ranges between 65-70 and the pH between 4-5.

     

    Nutritional composition

     

    This product is composed mainly of sucrose, glucose and fructose in variable percentages depending on the fruits used. They can be manufactured from a single fruit or from a mixture of fruits in different proportions. Table 1 shows the concentration of the different sugars in some of the fruits used in the manufacture of these products.

     

    Fruit Sucrose (% of total sugars) Glucose (% of total sugars) Fructose (% of total sugars)
    Grape 0 49-51 49-51
    Apple 8-10 25-29 62-66
    Pear 8-12 22-26 66-70
    Orange 45-50 22-24 25-27
    Carob 72-76 12-14 11-13
    Pineapple 50-55 20-25 20-25

    Table 1: The concentration of different sugars in some fruits used in the manufacture of deionized juice.

    Source: Lemon Concentrate – www.lemonconcentrate.com

     

    The energy content of these products is the same as that of the sugar (4 kcal and 17 kj/g of dry matter). This energy content varies according to the dry matter of the final product, ranging between 265 kcal and 1105 kj to 280 kcal and 1,190 kj (per 100 g of product).

     

    Food safety

     

    From a food safety perspective, deionized juice has a very low content of residue of pesticides, mycotoxin and heavy metals which in many cases remains below quantification limits. On a microbiological level the product presents an absence of spoiling microorganisms (yeasts, moulds and acidophilus bacteria), coliforms and E. Coli and pathogens.

     

    Properties: Glycaemic index and naturalness

     

    Though these products contain the same energy content as sugar, they present a low Glycaemic Index (GI<55) due mainly to their high level of fructose. However, unlike crystalline fructose which is usually used in food formulations and which is obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of inulin, the deionized concentrate is 100% fruit sugar extracted only by physical processes. Table 2 shows the Glycaemic Index of some sugars and foods, as well as that of the deionized fruits.

     

    GI FOOD / INGREDIENT
    100 GLUCOSE
    87 Honey
    72 White rice
    70 Boiled potatoes
    69 White bread
    62 Bananas
    59 White sugar (SUCROSE)
    59 Sweet corn
    59 Pastries
    51 Chips
    51 Sweet potatoes (yams)
    50 Refined flour spaghetti
    Under 50 Deionized fruit concentrates
    45 Grapes
    42 Wholemeal rye bread
    42 Whole wheat spaghetti
    40 Oranges
    39 Apples
    36 Yoghurt
    34 Whole milk
    23 Cherries
    20 FRUCTOSE
    15 Soya
    13 Peanuts

     

    Table 2: The Glycaemic Index of some sugars and foods, as well as that of the deionized fruits

    Source: Lemon Concentrate – www.lemonconcentrate.com

     

    When we eat any food that is high in sugar, the levels of glucose in the blood increases progressively as the starches and sugars they contain are digested and assimilated. The speed with which different foods are digested and assimilated depends on the type of nutrients they are composed of, on the quantity of fibre present and on the composition of the remaining foodstuffs present in the stomach and intestine during digestion.

    These aspects are valued according to the glycaemic index of the foodstuff. This index is the relation between the area of the curve of absorption of an intake of 50g of pure glucose over time and that obtained when ingesting the same quantity of foodstuff in question.

    The glycaemic index is determined in laboratories under controlled conditions. The process consists of taking blood samples at short intervals from a person who has consumed pure glucose solutions and comparing this with their consumption of the foodstuff in question. Despite being somewhat difficult to determine, interpreting the results is very simple: high indexes imply rapid absorption while low indexes indicate slow absorption.

    This index is of great importance for diabetics given that they must avoid rapid increases in glucose in the blood.

    Carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index can cause major problems in both controlling diabetes and in the formation of fats.

    Deionized fruit concentrates contain a low Glycaemic Index so they produce a slow increase in blood sugar levels and can in turn aid the reduction of the Glycaemic Index of the foodstuff to which it is applied. Providing the final product presents a tested Glycaemic Index, an adequate glycaemic load and a similarly adequate nutritional profile, its consumption can be recommended to people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.

    Furthermore, this type of product also presents added value compared with conventional sugars (cane or beet, glucose and fructose syrup), in that they are commonly used in the formulation of food due to their positive image of naturalness because they are 100% derived from fruit, something that allows for clean labelling on the products that they are included in. They also provide a balanced profile of sugars, because the sugars are naturally present in the fruit in the first place.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 09 Aug
    Organic juice in focus . . .

    Organic juice in focus . . .

    By Ruben Verbruggen, Managing Director, Vero-bio b.v., The Netherlands

     

    Most consumers are under the opinion that with a world taking more and more responsibility for sustainability and health, the use of pesticides is changing and is something of the past.

    Well, let’s look at that past. While humans originally cultivated their crops organically, the use of chemicals in agriculture actually dates back way further back than most people think, with early records evidencing its use as far back as 2500 BC with the use of sulphur in agriculture to harmonise bacteria’s and fungus, to around 300 BC when arsenic was used to protect citrus trees against caterpillars, beetles and aggressive ants.

    The Romans discovered that amurca, a residue from olive oil, was a poisonous ingredient for most ants, moles and weeds as they looked for solutions to the many crops affected by devastating diseases.

    The scientific revolution during the Renaissance, led by Mr. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek in 1675, acknowledged the existence of bacteria. It also created awareness about the use of poisonous pesticides, which resulted in the ban of arsenic and the development of seeds by the French government.

    By the nineteenth and twentieth century, the development of large scale use of chemicals was being applied to agriculture worldwide. The period after the 1950s was labelled the ‘pesticide era’. Many areas were looking to increase productivity and pesticides sometimes tripled output.

     

    Pesticide definitions

     

    To have a better understanding of the word ‘pesticide’, it is important to differentiate the types of pesticides, which can be classified into five categories:

     

    1)         Insecticide (applicable to insects)

    2)         Nematicides (applicable to soil nematodes)

    3)         Herbicides (applicable to weed)

    4)         Rodenticides (applicable to rodents)

    5)         Fungicides  (applicable to bacteria’s, viruses and fungus)

     

    During the ‘pesticide era’, the industry and farmers discovered the advantages for higher and specific use of pesticides. Farmers were producing more per acre and pesticides improved efficiency and effectiveness. The plants were less affected by damage and disease and the produce was more appealing. More appealing fruits gained a higher price on the market, driving more farmers to use pesticides. While the industry was eager to gain more produce and higher profits, it ignored and denied the negative consequences for using pesticides.

     

    Selective use

     

    If farmers are not selective in their use of pesticides, it causes the destruction of other beneficial organisms. Growers that continue to use pesticides on a large scale experience that certain unwanted organisms become resistant to certain pesticides, which leads to overdosing of pesticides – and this causes damage.

    But a much bigger concern is the accumulation in the food supply chain. When organisms eat each other, the biological mass reduces but the amount of toxin remains the same – this is known as biological stacking. The animal or human at the end of the food supply chain will receive a consolidated amount of toxins due to accumulation in the food supply chain.

    The pesticides will also reach the human body when soil is affected by too much pesticides, leading to the infection of groundwater, which is often used for drinkable water for people.

     

    Consumer driven

     

    Most consumers recognize and accept that the use of chemical pesticides is not good for the environment and human body. Still, most make the decision to buy goods in which pesticides have been applied, mainly from an economical point of view. The price is lower and the product is often appealing.

    However, the average person is becoming more and more aware of the food they consume. They are stimulated and driven into directions of healthier and more sustainable produced food. Governmental acts force industries to use less sugar and salt in products, while food scandals help consumers to evaluate their purchase decision of the products they are buying. Industries react by offering a wider range of ‘light’ versions against their traditional products, while at the same time forcing their supply chain to work proactively on sustainable food production.

    In the juice and beverage industry, we are seeing that traditional orange and apple juices are being impacted by these government acts and consumers buying decisions, and the industry is reacting by offering alternative ‘light’ beverage versions.

    The new trend is to find innovative products to take a piece of the growing demand for organic juices. The increase in demand for organic certified juices is especially strong in recent years and is forecast to remain strong for the next five to ten years. Some reports indicate that the organic apple juice market will grow with a compound annual growth rate of nearly 20%.

     

    Environmental mentality

     

    Most studies indicate that the main individual driving factor for consumers to buy organic juice is ‘health’, while the collective driving factor is ‘environment’.

    Consumers associate their individual choice for organic produce with personal health, but as group they claim organic produce is better for our environment with a preference for produce from their own region. Whether or not an organic produced and certified juice is more ‘healthier’ to a non-organic produced and certified juice is questioned in some articles – the fact is that consumers are making their choice.

    Most food companies are busy trying to take a piece of the organic market and social compliance is definitely a new trend in the food supply chain. Consumers associate organic certification with sustainability, with labels like fair trade and rainforest alliance. However, the food industry, in general, knows that ‘solely organic’ cannot be considered sustainable, unless the social compliance is met as well.

     

    Organic limits

     

    We are seeing lately a strong pressure on the supply chain for organic certified juice with social compliance, by means of certifications such as SMETA, SA 8000 and BSCI.

    The increase in demand for organic fruit juice is also stimulated by a continuous rise in demand for organic produce coming from the baby food market. This trend is driven by the fast-paced life of modern day parents. Most people now live in urban areas, are time poor, and do not want to spend time on the preparation of food at home. So, they tend to buy instant food products to fulfil the basic requirements of their infants. Government legislation also has a hand in this market by stimulating organic fruit juice in kindergartens and schools.

    The baby food market is throwing up other challenges for the supply chain in that it is, for obvious reasons, stricter about the use of organic raw materials, especially with regard to presence of phosphonic acid and fosethyl. Phosphonic acid and fosethyl have been widely used as organic fertilizer, which has affected soil and trees. The growth of the baby food market means additional pressure on the production of organic and baby food raw materials. In most fruit juice segments, it is hard to keep fulfilling the demand coming from the baby food market with its stricter regulations.

    Looking to the future, with a population of around seven billion people worldwide, the question is where we will reach our boundaries when we focus on expanding organic produce worldwide.

    Organic produce limits the produce per acre and is continuously under threat from diseases for which no organic substance or organism has been found to prevent a lower output and/or infection of other plants.

     

    The organic question

     

    There are more and more producers deciding to convert to organic farming, being attracted by the high demand and envisioned higher pricing for their produce. The risks and higher costs of production are being accepted and seen as an investment as a strategic move in their business concept.

    The industry is aware of the challenges the organic juice market is facing with uncertainty if supply can keep up with demand. More exporters are starting to work closely with farmers, and on joint production projects helping them over the technical and agronomist obstacles.

    This gives growers access to lower processing, packing and labour costs and enables them to deliver high quality products fulfilling the latest quality standards demanded by the market.

    This continuous growth of the organic market shows no signs of slowing down. Organic products boosted the juice market in 2017 and statistics show now that the purchase of organic fruit juice is becoming a habit amongst consumers rather than a purchase for a special occasion. The number of organic farmers is growing, but the question about availability of raw material certainly exists.

    The continuous trend of consumers eating healthier and more responsibly, and the focus on sustainable farming, is likely to lead to an increased need for organic juices.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 20 Mar
    Ultra-tropicals: Emerging exotic fruits

    Ultra-tropicals: Emerging exotic fruits

    Dragon Fruit shutterstock_106417019By Kristen Farr, Innovation & Marketing Manager, iTi tropicals, USA

    While orange, apple and grape juices have solidified their role in the juice marketplace, there are new flavours emerging looking to steal the spotlight. Exotic fruits like acerola, dragon fruit and mangosteen are powerful fruits that blend well with other juices and add new and exciting flavour profiles. Their colours and flavours are far from ordinary. Many consumers are traveling more and being exposed to flavours, fruits and cuisines that are not part of their normal repertoire. With this increased wanderlust, pallets are expanding. Consumers are seeking out the exotic fruits and flavours tasted on their travels.

    Dragon fruit, mangosteen and acerola, all have unique properties that make them excellent partners to juices ready for a facelift. Take for example juices like mango, guava and passionfruit, they have secured places in the juice marketplace both as standalone flavours as well as blends. Over the years, many fruits have crossed the barrier from exotic unknown to available to all of us. Now dragon fruit, mangosteen and acerola are new flavours ready to make the leap.

     

    Unique profile

     

    Let’s take a closer look at each of these exotic fruits. First up; acerola, a small, deep-red, cherry-like fruit native to the West Indies, Brazil, and the Caribbean Islands. Also known as the Barbados cherry or West-Indian cherry, acerola is one of the most vitamin-rich fruits. It is a potent source of natural vitamin C and bio-flavonoids, as well as vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2, B3, iron, phosphorous, and calcium. Its pulp has a distinctive fruity and sweet flavour described as a cross between a tart lime and a berry.

    Acerola juice can be used in many products and can be consumed as a straight juice but is often paired with others. The tartness of acerola blends well with other juices such as banana, papaya, mango and coconut water. It is more recently being used as a natural source of Vitamin C replacing ascorbic acid in ‘clean label’ products.

     

    <INSERT ACEROLA IMAGE NEAR HERE>

     

    Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or strawberry pear, is the probably the most beautiful and strange looking fruit in the cactus family and is growing in popularity. Dragon fruit is cultivated in the subtropical and tropical regions of Central Mexico, Central America, South America and Southeast Asia. Upon maturity, dragon fruit reaches its optimal sweetness. The fruit has a hot pink or reddish skin with greenish scales and the edible inner flesh is white, pink or red with numerous small black seeds. The dragon fruit is most commonly known for its natural deep red-crimson colour and slightly sweet taste often compared to that of a kiwi or pear. The texture and flesh is certainly comparable to a kiwi however its subtle flavour and refreshing juiciness are closer to a melon.

    What intrigues consumers is its visual appeal from the beautiful pink colour. When used in fruit juices the seeds are typically removed and a pink juice is left to blend. Dragon fruit is very appealing to consumers due to its exotic nature and vibrant colour. It tastes and looks great in tropical drinks, smoothies and cocktails. Dragon Fruit blends well with most fruits including banana, guava, coconut cream, pineapple, papaya and mango. It brings an exotic feel and colour to a product without overpowering the palette.

     

    <INSERT DRAGON FRUIT IMAGE NEAR HERE>

     

    Queen of fruits

     

    Another exotic fruit of note is the mangosteen, also known as ‘the Queen of Fruits.’ The mangosteen’s exterior is round, dark-purple/red-purple and smooth. Inside, there are 4-8 triangular segments of white, juicy, soft flesh that may or may not contain seeds. It is said to have numerous health benefits and tastes somewhere between a sweet orange and a peach. The mangosteen has a slightly acidic flavour, but is also both luscious and delicious at the same time.

    It grows mainly in Southeast Asia, south-west India and small pockets of other tropical areas in regions such as Puerto Rico and Florida, where the tree has been introduced. Mangosteen’s delicate flavour brings a taste of the tropics to any product. It blends well with other juices including peach, passionfruit and coconut water and is also gaining popularity as a delicacy and a fine, exotic dessert ingredient. It can be incorporated into juice blends, nectars, blends, smoothies and cocktails.

    The processing of dragon fruit and mangosteen are relatively straightforward. The fresh fruit is received into the plant and undergoes quality inspections prior to washing. The tops or crown are then cut off and the fruits are washed again before removing the exterior skin and peel. Next up in the process is pulp extraction where all of the flesh is collected in tanks to await further processing. Most fruit will go through an evaporator, screener to remove the seeds in the case of dragon fruit, and then the pasteurization process begins. Along the way are several quality checks to ensure the products is both safe and consistent. The fruit juice is then flash frozen and stored until it is ready to be shipped.

     

    Juice innovation

     

    In US juice markets these three exotic fruits are starting to make an impact. They are blended with better known juices and used in super fruit blends for their antioxidant properties and/or vibrant colour. In other areas of the world such as Brazil, acerola is an established juice and is just as common as orange is in the US.

    In order to stand out in an increasingly crowded category, juice manufacturers must look to innovate with new juices and this is where exotic fruits come into play. Less familiar fruits can also boost the nutritional profile of juices by adding the functional benefits consumers are seeking. As health, nutrition and clean label remain key drivers in guiding innovation within the beverage industry, consumers are looking for functional beverages that deliver benefits such as immune health, vitamin support and the promotion of overall well-being. Better-for-you functional beverages that deliver health benefits are impacting the use of both traditional and exotic fruits. Cold-pressed juices and high-pressure pasteurization (HPP) technologies have helped to drive tropical fruit flavours by maintaining the bright colours.

    Within the food and beverage industry, and especially in the beverage segment, exotic fruits still make up a sizeable portion of new product development and launches – and it is only increasing. This should come as no surprise considering the consistent growth in popularity of tropical fruits. For many beverage manufacturers, line extensions provide the perfect opportunity to experiment with unique fruits and flavours, leading to increased consumer familiarity and, consequently, increased consumer demand. There are several factors that contribute to the trend of exotic fruits, but overall it is the consumer’s desire for health and innovation that has pushed manufacturers to think outside the box, beyond apple, orange and grape.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 20 Mar
    Seatrade introduces a juice dedicated ship

    Seatrade introduces a juice dedicated ship

    Figure 1 Juice Express - General 3D design visualizationA highly specialized juice tanker is close to completion and will shortly enter service. The newly developed Juice Express has just been delivered (12 March 2018) to Seatrade and Tampa Juice Inc.

    The concept for this juice tanker project started in September 2013 after a thorough investigation into continuation of the juice trade between Moin (Costa Rica) and Tampa (USA).

    Currently, this trade route is serviced by the Joint Frost, a juice tanker with a capacity of more than 1300 tonnes of frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ). Since 1999, the Joint Frost has been technically operated by Seatrade and commercially operated by chartering partners.

    The Juice Express project was developed to expand the juice transport capacity beyond the Joint Frost, due to predictions of both the volume and variety of juice cargo changing in the future. This prompted Seatrade to work on detailed specification throughout 2014, which resulted in the tendering package for the yard.

    Seatrade’s broad experience with juice transport over the past 20 years has been used in the development of Juice Express design in close cooperation with chartering partners and a Dutch design and engineering company. With the Seatrade Newbuilding Department in charge, the team developed a new juice tanker concept with some ambitious targets.

    Juice Express would have to accommodate more than twice as much cargo as the Joint Frost using the same main engine fuel consumption and service speed. This impressive goal was achieved during the hull and propeller design stage. This process also included hull optimization for the specific trade between Costa Rica and the US. The vessel can easily be adjusted for other trade routes as well.

    In 2015, Seatrade engaged in extensive shipyard market research. Halfway through the year, Guangxin Shipbuilding & Heavy Industry (GSHI) located in the Guangdong province in South China, was contracted for the building of the Juice Express. Besides the Juice Express, Seatrade entered into an agreement with the same yard to build four handy size reefer vessels of 300 000 ft3. These vessels are particularly designed for transhipment and transportation of frozen fish, squid and, alternatively, shipment of cooled citrus fruits and potatoes. The end result of both projects brought in some excellent additions to the Seatrade fleet.

    Juice Express

    The Newbuilding Department of Seatrade Groningen joined forces with Seatrade’s Chartering, Technical and Operation Departments, to arrive at the most optimal ship design result. On top of that, sea going staff were invited to give practical input for the development process.

    The controllable pitch propeller has an optimum diameter, in combination with optimized hull lines, ensuring the best possible efficiency and lowest possible fuel consumption. The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) is 23% more efficient compared with IMO requirements for phase 1. For optimum manoeuvring, a balanced spade rudder has been installed, operated by a ram-type steering gear and a tunnel type bow thruster installed in the forward part of the vessel. On the flush self-sustained main deck area of 900m2, a container crane operates that is able to lift 40 tonnes at a radius of 30m suitable for containerized cargoes, general cargo and project cargo. The latest generation of water ballast treatment systems comply with IMO and USCG regulations.

    Juice system

    The orange juice is mainly shipped as FCOJ, although in recent years, there has been an increase in the demand for not-from-concentrate (NFC) juice. In order to be flexible, the juice system has been designed to load/unload and transport FCOJ and NFC juice in cylindrical stainless steel (type 316ltr) juice tanks. The vessel has four cargo holds. Cargo holds number one, two and four are insulated and fitted with cylindrical juice tanks. Hold number three is a box shaped reefer cargo hold intended for reefer containers with juice bins or other reefer cargo. Additionally, this cargo hold provides for future options for juice system expansion. Hold number three could be insulated and four additional cylindrical tanks could be located inside. This modification depends on juice market developments. From a technical perspective, Seatrade gained ample experience during an earlier Joint Frost modification project.

    In addition, cargo holds number one and two are divided by insulated bulkheads to be able to create different temperature zones and provide further juice loading flexibility. Cargo hold number one accommodates one tank dedicated to Frozen Concentrated Pineapple Juice (FCPJ), FCOJ or NFC and three tanks have been appropriated for FCOJ or NFC. Cargo hold number two accommodates four tanks for FCOJ and/or NFC and cargo hold number four accommodates four tanks suitable for NFC only.

    Juice tank capacities

    The system has been designed with following parameters:

    • Total maximum juice tank volume – 2386 m3
    • Total maximum juice tank carrying capacity (maximum weight of the cargo) – 2958 tonnes

    Juice pumps

    The vessel has been designed with a theoretical port time (during loading or unloading) of below 24 hours. This includes manoeuvring and mooring operations. However, sufficient manifold connections have to be provided by the juice terminal. Pump rates of FCOJ, FCPJ and NFC are as follows:

    • Pump capacity NFC of 81 m3 per hour
    • Pump capacity FCOJ of 56 m3 per hour
    • Pump capacity FCPJ of 56 m3 per hour

    In total three NFC pumps, four FCOJ pumps and one FCPJ have been installed in the cargo holds and the loading manifold has the possibility for five juice segregations.

    Inert gas installation

    The nitrogen system has been installed on board to prevent oxidation of juice cargo. Nitrogen produced on board, or alternatively delivered from the shore, is used to inert all twelve juice tanks. A separate connection is provided in the manifold for supply and discharge of nitrogen from ashore. The on board installed nitrogen generator has a maximum capacity of 250 m3 per hour and 99% purity.

    Cargo tanks cleaning installation

    A central ‘Cleaning-In-Place’ (CIP) system is available on board for cleaning and disinfection of the juice tanks and the process systems in the cargo holds. The CIP stainless steel tanks required for cleaning operations are located in forward part of the vessel.

    Cargo cooling system

    A brine cooling system consisting of two units has been installed with ammonia as primary refrigerant. The cooled brine is transported through the pipes in vessel’s sides to feed the coolers in each temperature zone of the juice cargo holds. In total, there are five different temperature zones. The holds have been sufficiently insulated to keep the consumption of the refrigeration plant as low as practical. The maintained temperature in the holds with the stainless steel tanks can be set between minus 10°C and plus 2°C, depending on juice temperature settings.

    Reefer containers

    Fifteen reefer containers with the possible addition of juice bins, will be carried inside the cargo hold number three. Moreover, the vessel is prepared for the loading of additional reefer containers on the main deck. There are 58 reefer sockets on the main deck allowing for flexible loading operations, which can be performed by the vessel’s own container crane located on starboard side.

    Newbuilding stage

    All systems, including the juice system itself, need to be in full operating condition before vessel delivery. However, the juice system can only be fully commissioned during the first loaded voyage. With this in mind, experts from the juice system manufacturer, together with the Seatrade Newbuilding Team and the crew of Juice Express, will be testing and commissioning the system in the second quarter of 2018. After that, the vessel will be fully commissioned and ready for juice transport operations under SeacatLine.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 18 Jan
    A STAR IS BORN. LEMON JUICE GETS THE RED-CARPET TREATMENT

    A STAR IS BORN. LEMON JUICE GETS THE RED-CARPET TREATMENT

    Lemon juice is replacing citric acid as an acidifier in more and more products and it is moving to the top of the ingredients list and featuring more and more on the front label. It is being used as an acidifier in juice blended drinks where lemon juice concentrate is being used for tartness and other products that go from yoghurt to a very wide range of products. In non-alcoholic beverages lemon is considered to add the refreshing character to herbal, vegetable and fruit beverages and stands third behind orange and apple in the table of strongest flavours in non- alcoholic beverage product launches last year.

    In terms of world lemon juice supply for the period 2016/17 Argentina is way ahead at 61% leaving the nearest country, Spain, trailing at just 15%. With 75% of Argentina’s fruit harvest going to industrial use compared with only 35% across the other main sources of supply. Small fresh fruit exporters are losing ground and share to the big producers. Predictions are that demand for lemon juice will continue to grow and diversify into new usages and that new trends and changing consumer habits call for higher standards of fruit production and juice processing. Only processors that can meet these new standards will be capable of supplying lemon juice for the front label.

    Following his presentation at the Juice Summit on trends in the lemon juice industry, Fruit Juice Focus caught up with Santiago Martinez Founder of U-Citrus, a Uruguayan based sales and logistics structure for world-wide supply of fruit juices to talk in depth about how new customers are using lemon juice in a number of different ways.

    FullSizeRender[1] Santiago Martinez pic

    Fruit Juice Focus (FJF): Can you tell us about the changes in the ingredients list for fruit juices and how lemon juice has become a prime ingredient in recent years?

    Santiago Martinez (SM) There are three key changes and I will outline them here.

    Unlike other juices – particularly the main juices such as orange or apple, lemon has always been treated as a minor ingredient and not a fruit juice in its own right, except obviously for salad dressings.

    What we are seeing now on the demand side are changes within the ingredient list. Firstly, lemon as an ingredient has gone from practically non-existent to existent. Historically citric acid has been widely used as an acidifier in fruit juices and other products. This is not necessarily the case anymore. If you are launching a beverage product nowadays that claims to be natural you should not use citric acid as an ingredient. You need to use a fruit juice, and this is where we see the rise in popularity for lemon juice as a replacement for citric acid.

    With the huge rise in new product launches worldwide in recent years (see fig 1) claiming freshness and sustainability as a major selling point (reportedly 20% year on year for the past five years) a major opportunity has arisen for lemon juice to become the ingredient of choice to help these products fulfil these claims.

    The second key change is where lemon appears in the ingredients list for a functional purpose. Many of the new super fruit juices and super veggies are looking for ingredients that will provide the freshness that consumers desire. And lemon is the answer. You only need to look at the explosion of new launches in the beverages market and you will find that lemon is not only being used as an acidifier in these products but also increasingly to add that touch of freshness.

    And thirdly is the launch of the new lemonades (see fig 2). This is fantastic news for lemon because the enormous difference now is that the new lemonades are using upwards of 10% to 14% lemon juice content where normally you would have seen as low as 1 or ½ % in a typical multifruit nectar. Each glass of lemonade that replaces a glass of nectar in the consumer’s share of stomach represents a 10 or 20-fold increase in lemon juice consumption.

    Let’s take the Hollywood analogy and you can see how lemon juice has risen from a bit part player to a star role in the ingredients list. When you watch the credits roll at the end of the movie in the cinema there is a long list of names that nobody cares about scrolling up the screen. Lemon in the ingredients list has many times been the equivalent to “safety guard #3”. But now lemon can be seen in the opening credits as one of the stars or main characters of the production. That’s how much things have changed for lemon over the past few years.

    Why – because lemon is fresh.

    It is lemon juice plus watermelon, lemon juice plus herbs, lemon juice plus strawberry. All the other juices or ingredients are now no longer the main character. The main character is now lemon.

    And another interesting development, and I refer to my Hollywood analogy again, when lemon is the lead character, the star of the ingredients appears on the front label – this movie star needs to go to the hairdressers, to be well dressed for the red carpet. This means that the quality of the lemon juice at this level needs to be the best, whereas when lemon juice was just an acidifier at the end of an ingredient list of 10 fruits nobody really cared about the freshness or the colour of this lemon.

    The changes I see are: firstly, the replacement of citric acid.  Secondly lemon as a character of freshness in this new range of beverage launches. And thirdly, lemon as the main fruit. All this means we will have to focus much closer in the quality of the lemons we produce and supply. Another point to consider when talking about quality is AR’s. When lemon is not a tiny ingredient anymore, a whole new level of quality parameters need to be reached.

    FJF: This is a whole new set of rules and regulations then, being introduced for the lemon industry along with associated costs?

    SM: Yes, but basically those are being already matched by the main suppliers from the main countries of origin. At the same time, some origins will not be able to reach the new quality requirements that will become the new world standard.

    FJF: Lemon juice is obviously a good business to be in currently. You source your lemons from Argentina, can you tell us about industry and market conditions there at present?

    SM: Yes, we have an easier life than many other colleagues in the fruit juice business. Right now, lemon is a very healthy sector to be in.

    The good news about Argentina is that 75% of lemons are produced for industry already. The whole region is industry focused will be even more in the near future.

    If you look back at the orange fruit juice industry in Argentina it was larger than Brazil in the 1960s. You can see there a very easy example of what can be achieved when you focus in producing for industry at the correct geography.

    FJF: Are lemons resilient to disease such as citrus greening?

    SM: Yes, they are resilient to some diseases. Most of the orange trees were killed by diseases but the lemon trees survived. But if you are talking about HLB then there is no good news. HLB will arrive and we will have to live with it. We will have to do what countries like Brazil are doing and learn from their experience.

    FJF: Do you see any other countries or regions competing with Argentina?

    SM:  To be very honest, a good business will always create its own competition. This is a reality. Argentina does have an advantage, but will have to increase its focus in producing for industry and setting the world’s highest quality standards.

    The serious global buyers who are looking for significant supply of lemon juice concentrate with strict parameters of freshness, colour, traceability and the lowest AR’s content will have few alternatives to Argentina origin.

    FJF: Do you see the trend for lemon slowing any time soon? With the trends of sustainability and naturalness growing in developed countries they appear to be prepared to pay the price for quality and provenance, particularly the younger generation.

    SM: Yes, what is going on for lemons stems from the demand side. The demand figures are very interesting. We are growing our supply year after year and the demand is still there and will continue to grow along with the increasing new product launches that are promoting natural ingredients and freshness.

    To conclude: we are seeing larger production figures than ever before, and we are seeing the demand growing year by year. Our sales figures have grown substantially, specially to those customers who pack products based on these new trends. The new customers – those that are launching these exciting new beverage products on the market – are increasing their consumption year after year. It is definitely an upward trend. From the lemon industry’s point of view – long may it continue. Everyone is a winner.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 17 Jan
    From Rejected Fruit to Premium Juice. How a leading Swedish grocery chain teamed up with a small start-up business to produce premium juice from the fruit that nobody wanted.

    From Rejected Fruit to Premium Juice. How a leading Swedish grocery chain teamed up with a small start-up business to produce premium juice from the fruit that nobody wanted.

    Just over a year ago two young entrepreneurs approached the Swedish grocery chain ICA offering to take their rejected fruit and recycle it into bottles of high quality fruit juice that ICA could buy back and sell in their supermarkets. This would reduce waste, generate income for both companies and benefit the environment and society. Simple and very effective – as some of the best ideas are. This circular approach to resources and waste management was recognised as serving as a source of inspiration for the whole of the retail trade in the region and the initiative was shortlisted for the Nordic Council Environment Prize 2017.
    Peter Hägg was the senior category manager at the ICA fruit and vegetable division when he started up this project with Rescued Fruit – now called Rescued – back in 2016. Peter is currently responsible for sponsorships at ICA and is involved in sponsoring selected humanitarian causes such as the Red Cross and the Pink Ribbon Childhood Foundation. Peter will return to his previous position in the fruit and veg team later this year.

    The ICA Group is a retail company with 1300 grocery stores in Sweden. The fruit and vegetable section of the business where the Rescued Fruits initiative was first launched is situated in Helsingborg and employ upwards of 80 people working within category development and the buying and replenishing of fruit and vegetables for all the depots within Sweden.

    ‘This circular approach to resources and waste management was recognised as serving as a source of inspiration for the whole of the retail trade in the region’

    Rescued, then called Rescued Fruits was founded in Helsingborg in 2015. The background was that there is too much good fruits and vegetables thrown away, unnecessarily. Rescued, salvage fruit and vegetables which otherwise would be wasted, fruit and vegetables that do not fit into corporate production. For example, bruised apples, wrong sized pears or weird-looking carrots. They check, sort and wash everything gently and then turn the goodies into great juice. The different kinds vary depending on the season, which means flavours vary too. The juices are sold mainly in coffee shops, restaurants and selected grocery stores in Sweden. Rescued now has 8 employees and has increased revenues by 237 % during the period 2016-17.

    Here Peter Hägg from ICA talks to Fruit Juice Focus about his experience of the Rescued initiative he helped to launch and why it is important today that ideas such as these should be replicated worldwide.

    Peter Hagg

     

    Fruit Juice Focus (FJF): How did ICA get involved with Rescued, how did this whole idea come about?
    Peter Hägg (PH): Normally it is not very easy for a small company, such as Rescued was then, to just walk into the offices of a large company like ICA and say we have a business idea can we have a contract please! Which is exactly what Truls Christenson and Cecilia Larsson did when they approached us at the Helsingborg offices of ICA. It did help that at the Helsingborg offices we have a forward-thinking management team which were able to speed up the acceptance and commencement of the project.

    These young entrepreneurs came into our office during the autumn of 2015 having just turned 29 and 19. And talk about good timing! The initial meeting with Truls and Cecilia took place one month before we were setting up the strategy for the coming year.

    They had some interesting questions regarding our business. They observed that the ICA operation in Helsingborg imported a large amount of fruit and vegetables and suggested that there must be waste in our supply chain.

    I was thinking about that for a while and I thought no, we don’t have much waste really. Especially not for apples where we know we have one of the smallest percentages that we record as waste in our warehouse – it’s barely 1.8% or close to this.

    But when I then looked at what 1.8% was in actual kilos it turned out to be 8000 kilos of apples which equates to approximately 11,000 bottles of juice during the course of one year. I then thought in more detail about the waste aspect of our business.

    Of course, those kilos I referred to above for apples are not constant from one week to another at that same level. It can vary a lot over time. It could be just a small amount of damaged items or it could be a complete container that is deemed as being of unsuitable quality or damaged in some way that has arrived and is sitting in our warehouse. This might mean 24 tonnes of fruit is not usable.
    On these occasions we call the supplier and discuss what to do with the fruit since the quality is not in line with the agreed specification.

    Do they want us to sort it? This would cost some money. Do they want us to send it back? This would cost the supplier money organising return transport. Or do they want us to try selling it for a discount price? Thereby reducing all profit and sometimes reducing normal turnover of accepted fruit with normal margin. If the above solutions are rejected the products will end up as landfill gas (biogas) and that will also end up as a dumping cost for each pallet. These are the normal solutions for a container of rejected fruit that arrives at our Helsingborg depot.
    After reflecting on this we realised that Truls and Cecilia’s proposal could make sense and we agreed to talk more.

    FJF: Can you explain in more detail what Rescued were proposing?
    PH: The business idea Rescued put on the table was that they would take all rejected fruit off our hands. Truls and Cecilia didn’t want to pay for the fruit because then, as they pointed out, it’s not waste. ‘We want to take care of the real waste’ they said. We at ICA could throw them all away but it would cost us at least EUR10 per pallet to do this so it’s a cheaper way for us just to send it to Rescued for free than to get rid of it.
    The plan that we agreed was that we would send to Rescued from our depots all the rejected, unusable fruit that we couldn’t sell in our stores. They would then process it into fruit juice, bottle and label it as ICA private label. We would buy the finished product back into our warehouse and then stock it for sale in our retail outlets.
    Having secured this deal with us Rescued were able to go to their bank and report that they had a contract with a major customer – ICA – thus securing a business loan to set up their factory and install the machinery needed to commence operations. The team behind Rescued made that happen within six months.

    ‘The business idea Rescued put on the table was that they would take all rejected fruit off our hands’

    FJF: When did the first bottles of Rescued juice start rolling off the production line?
    PH: It was June of 2016 that things began to move and we were in a position to start selling bottles of Rescued through our stores. We generated a lot of attention both in the media and with our customers due to the fact that no one had done anything like this before.
    FJF: How has the operation developed? What obstacles have you and Rescued experienced along the way and how have they been overcome?
    PH: One of the hard parts for the Rescued team is to make the operation viable where the quantities of fruits are fluctuating. To combat this as the company developed they have taken on a number of other big importers around Sweden providing them with an economy of scale which has made a big difference. Also at ICA we have run trials with some of our bigger retail outlets where they send back any waste from the stores to our warehouse and then we transport it on to them for processing.

    What we also did from the beginning was a conscious decision not to make any profit from this project. We decided that it was a great thing to be able to rescue fruit that somebody had planted and nurtured and grown from the soil and transported it across the globe only to have it rejected and on the verge of being destroyed. We all felt that this was a terrible waste, so we are doing this for a good cause.

    We made a small investment for the first year for every bottle that we sold to be able to make this work and to start in a good way. And now since the volumes have grown we have started to break even.
    Since we launched it as a private label brand it has enabled us to use internal marketing resources to tell the story about rescued fruits and promote the product in Sweden.

    Meanwhile they have also developed their own brand at Rescued which are now selling to restaurants, coffee shops and bars in Sweden. They have managed to create a really good premium label and are able to sell at premium prices in these restaurants and cafes with the result that nearly 80% of their turnover comes from their premium brand. ICA is now only a small part of their business.

    FJF: What happens when there is not enough damaged fruit in the ICA chain? Do you slow down production of the bottled juices or do you supplement it with undamaged fruit? How do you manage that situation?
    PH: We have discussed combining damaged fruit with industrial contracted fruit but we have never done it. I don’t think it’s a bad idea because in order to have an operation that’s running to save as much fruit as possible if there is 80% rescue or there is 100% or 70% it shouldn’t really matter because it’s also important that the shelves in the stores are always filled up with juice.
    If you leave an empty space on the shelves someone else will take the spot. We have not taken a decision to combine with industrial contracts yet. It could happen in the future. For now we have sold the juice in the category of fruit and vegetables. In that specific category in the stores you set something up every day and then you compare it from one day to another and decide how you will present the fruit and vegetables section. It’s not like an ordinary shelf of bottles of drink for example. We have accepted that during certain times of the year there will be a shortage due to lack of fruits.
    It is a very good thing that in the ICA stores we are able to display the fruit juices right next to the apples in the stores and this demonstrates to the consumers that ICA are very much responsible for what we do.
    Together with Truls and Cecilia we have also set up the diplomas whereby we reward the stores who are good at sending back the fruit and we can send them a diploma to pin up on the wall that says thank you for rescuing 200kg of fruit made into delicious juice. Most companies like ours always have empty space on the lorries going back to the depots as we are still transporting crates or rolling container pallets and rejected items from the stores. There is always transport for that so there isn’t any extra cost to us transporting this back to the depot – it’s just that we are filling up the trucks better.

    ‘We reward the stores who are good at sending back the fruit. We send them a diploma that says thank you for rescuing 200kg of fruit made into delicious juice’
    FJF: You say the price for these juices is higher than the standard pricing due to the more labour- intensive production methods?
    PH: Yes, that is correct. Even if the product is cheap (free in effect) you still need to collect the fruits. And when it comes into Rescued’s warehouse they need to store the fruit properly. Rescued also need to sort it before they commence juice production. For instance, they need to take away all the most damaged fruit and all the stickers on the apples – and we have a lot of stickers – and this is a process that needs more attention and involves more cost than a juice factory. And this is what makes our juice a bit more expensive when you relate it to everything else. Also, there are small things such as the handicraft of tasting the products and the mixing process to produce a delicious juice which adds to the cost. Remember, apple varieties vary and create different challenges that need to be handled by adding ginger, lemon or cinnamon to achieve perfection.
    Consumers are prepared to pay a premium price because they recognise that this is a good cause and the delicious result is worth every penny.

    ‘Consumers are prepared to pay a premium price because they recognise that this is a good cause and the delicious result is worth every penny’

    FJF: Are you considering extending this process beyond apples?
    PH: We have used pears. We started with marmalade from pears then we discovered after a while that one pear is one jar of marmalade and Swedish people don’t each much marmalade so we can’t rescue that much. We have also created a juice with pears and lemons and that works quite well. We also use different ingredients like lemons to be able to spice the juice even if its apple content of say 80% we can still use lemons and ginger and other similar ingredients. We can use different flavouring products when we have waste on those as well.
    FJF: Can you quantify how much fruit has been rescued since the initiative was introduced?
    PH: By mid-2017 after the first 12 months since launch, approximately 33,466kg of fruit has been saved from ICA’s warehouses and ICA stores corresponding to 54,336 bottles of juice. This continues to grow on a monthly basis. We look forward to hearing from companies in other countries and regions on how they might be introducing the same processes to their rejected fruit. Everybody can win from this initiative.

    Truls

    We are so proud and happy for the cooperation with ICA. We have learned a lot from each other along the way. I still remember when it all began. Now it feels surreal that that we managed to fill the first 20 000 bottles with a funnel and a measuring cup. There are a lot of new things in the pipeline and we are looking forward to rescuing more fruits and vegetables working together with ICA
    Truls Christenson, one of the initiators behind the project at Rescued.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
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