Did you know there are five teaspoons of refined white sugar (nearly 20 grams) in a 100-gram serving of the average sweetened breakfast cereal? Some cereals even have twice that amount per serving.
A food with 15 or more grams of sugar per serving is considered a high-sugar product, according to Australia’s Obesity Coalition. Which means ready-to-eat breakfast cereals such as Frosties and Froot Loops are obvious culprits in the obesity epidemic sweeping the world.
Launched last March, Fruitlift comes in two forms. One can be injected into the flour mix of puffed cereals in a very mild apple, apple-orange or apple-mango-citrus flavor that won’t overpower the cereal’s signature taste. The other is sprayed as a coating onto finished cereal, lending a more pronounced apple, pineapple, citrus or lemon flavor.
Manufacturers will be able to customize the solution they choose, using one or both Fruitlift products to replace white refined sugar partially or fully, adding only sweetness or sweetness with a fruit flavor.
“Since its launch two months ago, Fruitlift has inspired enthusiastic interest from food companies globally,” says Michal Katzir Emek, international marketing director for Gat Foods, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Central Bottling Company Group established in Israel in 1942.
She explains that the sugar conundrum is one of the factors that has led to the stagnation of the cereals market. More and more people – especially parents – are wary of buying cereal in which refined sugar makes up 15-40% of the product.
“We decided to face the challenge head-on and give manufacturers the option of offering consumers the next generation of cereals — cereals that are more nutritious, with cleaner labels, and infused with more natural ingredients” without sacrificing the sweetness consumers expect from their breakfast cereal, she says.
“Consumers reluctant to give up the convenience of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are voicing a desire to see more healthful attributes attached to these products,” adds Hila Bentman, international brand manager for Gat Foods. “There are numerous cereals on the market with a fruit coating; however, they still contain relatively high amounts of refined sugar.”
Pilot lab opening
Gat Foods is hardly a startup; for decades, it has supplied technology-based fruit solutions to the worldwide beverage industry. The company’s Prigat is one of Israel’s leading fruit-juice brands, while Prigat International offers unique licensee models to beverage manufacturers worldwide.
The concept for Fruitlift and its initial development was shepherded by another Israeli company, Practical Innovation of Shefayim, which helps traditional industries identify, formulate and develop global game-changing products and/or services to offer customers.
Gat completed an initial round of Fruitlift trials in a pilot lab in the UK and now is entering the next phase of its go-to-market plan by building a full-scale pilot lab expected to start operating in late June at one of its factories in northern Israel.
“There is no other pilot lab for cereals in Israel,” Katzir Emek tells ISRAEL21c. “This is a first.”
The lab will allow cereal makers to test and taste Fruitlift formulations and tweak them for specific targets. The lab will use the regular extrusion process that cereal manufacturers employ, showing that the addition of Fruitlift won’t change normal production procedures.
“The pilot lab will give us more complete expertise and flexibility to better collaborate with our clients throughout the entire product-development cycle. We anticipate this will further our application of the Fruitlift solution into additional food formulations,” says Katzir Emek.
Cereal manufacturers got to sample Fruitlift at the “Feed Your Future” Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Expo in New Orleans on June 3-5. They were offered a taste of the various forms of the two products as a sugar replacement in samples of puffed cereals, including whole-grain cereals.
“Today everyone produces cereal with some sweetener because that is the taste profile consumers expect,” says Katzir Emek. “We are offering a new ingredient that gives you the sweetener from the fruit itself, and it can be used to eliminate or reduce refined sugar.”
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