Israeli FoodTech taps into carob to create low GI natural sugar replacer for energy bars

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

CarobWay is showcasing its carob-based sugar replacer in energy bars at IFT23. Pic: CarobWay
CarobWay is showcasing its carob-based sugar replacer in energy bars at IFT23. Pic: CarobWay

Related tags Carobway sugar replacer carob Blood sugar management energy bars IFT First

Bringing the nutritional treasures of the ancient fruit to the modern table, CarobWay’s sweetener is derived from the whole carob fruit and promotes wellbeing, as well as providing sweetness.

The Rehovot-based startup is showcasing its clean label, low glycaemic index (GI) sweetener at IFT23 (Chicago, 17-19 July), demonstrating its powerful attributes in an energy bar prototype and gummies, although, according to CarboWay CEO and cofounder Udi Alroy, it can plug easily into almost any food and beverage application.

The sweetener can replace up to 100% of the sugars in energy bars and about 40% of the sugars in gummies.

“Both demonstration products are plant-based and non-GMO, appealing to consumers who want an enjoyable treat with a purpose,”​ said Alroy.

However, “it’s not enough to provide natural sweetness. Today’s consumers are seeking clean CPG products that are better-for-you, and kind to the planet.

“CarobWay’s sweetener is a natural, single ingredient to help food and beverage companies to attain a cleaner label for their products. “

Zero waste

Carob tree Getty
Pic: GettyImages

The zero-waste sweetener is made from the deseeded pods of the carob tree, or Ceratonia siliqua. Carob today is a healthy substitute for chocolate, but the fruit was prized for its health benefits by the Mesopotamians (dating back 4,000 years).

“Our natural sugar replacer provides a holistic solution based on all the goodness found in carob,”​ he added.

“Thanks to our extensive dendrological research, we chose specific varieties of the carob tree that grow locally and whose fruit provides a mild, pleasing caramel flavour.

“Many carob sweeteners can have a faint bitter note, but CarobWay’s sweetener is clean and flavourful.”

By nature, carob has high carbon storage capabilities and flourishes in marginal lands. It supports ecosystem diversity and even helps prevent wildfires.

Aligned with its ethos to live in harmony with the planet and its inhabitants, CarobWay runs a vertically integrated operation from farm to fork and is committed to fair trade practices. Most importantly, it works to eliminate waste by using the entire fruit - seeds and pulp - to create the sugar replacer.

The secret ingredient

Carob fruit Getty
Pic: GettyImages

The composition of the novel sweetener includes various sugars, trace soluble fibres and polyphenols, along with D-Pinitol. The polyol is a naturally occurring compound found in plants, particularly in carob fruit, and has a sweetness about 50% that of sucrose.

To date, more than 30 bioactive and wellness benefits of D-pinitol have been revealed, including its effectiveness in reducing LDL-cholesterol in blood and in postprandial blood glucose in patients with Type II diabetes.

Researchers suggest this effect could be owed to its possible insulin-like function and strong natural antidiabetic and insulin regulating abilities. But it also has shown promise as an active anti-Alzheimer, anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, plus capacity as supporting immunity and liver health.

Highly promising study results

Blood test diabetes Getty
Pic: GettyImages

CarobWay conducted a bioavailability study using the SHIME in vitro model. The simulation system mimics the conditions and functionality of the human digestive system, allowing researchers to study the enzymatic activity on food compounds when it meets the stomach and small intestines.

The study demonstrated that D-pinitol is highly bioavailable, while the other carob sugars are absorbed slowly.

“This is good news for prediabetics who desire to enjoy pastry confections and sweets,”​ said Dr Monica Colt, scientific director for CarobWay.

“The study results of our carob ingredients are highly promising, and we are continuing to explore carob’s impressive values.”

Leveraging innovation from seed to table, CarobWay is on a mission to create nutritious bioactive carob ingredients with a minimal footprint.

The startup - founded in Tel Aviv in 2020 - is the brainchild of food and nutrition entrepreneur Udi Alroy, whose vision is to return this ancient superfruit to the mainstream, while building a robust, sustainable and vertically integrated food system that benefits all supply chain partners.

Study:

Relationship Between Sugar Profile and D-Pinitol Content of Pods of Wild and Cultivated Types of Carob Bean (Ceratonia siliqua L.)

Author: Irfan Turhan

International Journal of Food Properties

2014, 17:2, 363-370

Doi: 10.1080/10942912.2011.631255

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