CarobWay: Carob farming for the 21st century
CarobWay plans to commercialize a variety of ingredients from carob, said co-founder and CEO Udi Alroy, who says he already has commitments from buyers and hopes to bring the first products to market in 2024.
“We're looking to use 100% of the carob, including locust bean gum [from the seeds of the fruit], but most of the business is in the fruit, which contains sugars and fibers and polyphenols.
“It generally takes four to five years [for carob trees to start yielding fruit] but if you really spoil the tree we think it could be a lot quicker than that,” added Alroy, a food industry veteran who formed the company about two and a half years ago.
“We planted about 40,000 trees last year with the idea to get to 500,000 trees; the orchards are designed to be the most effective for mechanical harvesting with a computerized irrigation system, because we have to be extremely economical. We chose the Israeli type of carob which is suitable for our needs.
“There’s a shortage of carob, so we have to secure long term agreements and secure the supply chain. Our solution is to be vertically integrated. So we go to growers, tell them you grow the carob using our high-yielding seedlings, and we’ll give you a 10-year agreement at a fixed price, and they sell everything to us. We then produce our own carob products and sell them as food ingredients.”