MONTREAL, June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ - Given that the acidity of fruits like the cranberry is an obstacle to their consumption, a team of highly experienced and qualified engineers, technicians, and flavorists from West Invest sought a way to develop a fruit that has been underexploited for too long, due to a lack of sophisticated technology. Today, the company and its leader Eric Reynaud are proud to unveil a patent-pending innovation that enables the development of healthy, natural and high-quality products: F.I.E.R.TM (Flash Ions Exchange Resins).
A year of research and development in 2016 bore fruit as the West Invest team discovered a way to precisely target the molecule responsible for undesirable acid perception. This led to development of the F.I.E.R.TM process, which is used to adjust and correct the pH of cranberries (from less than 2.5 to nearly 3.5) by selectively, reliably, and quickly reducing a specific compound while preserving all the properties and components of interest in the fruit.
The F.I.E.R.TM process can be applied to a wide range of so-called acidic fruits and optimize a pH between 2.5 and 4.5 to a tenth of a point. Its application extends to pomegranates, for instance, with a pH between 2.5 and 3.5, and even pineapples, with a pH between 3.5 and 4, as well as to many other products and applications such as juices, jams, sauces, coulis, and toppings, or even soups, precluding the need for added sugar and artificial coloring.
"Today, consumer awareness is leading to increased demand for a healthier diet that limits the use of sugar without altering the taste experience," says Eric Reynaud. "Cranberries have important health benefits, such as antioxidants and polyphenolics, but because of their acidity, they are not consumed, or at least rarely, favored without changing their concentration (adding sugar and/or water). That is why, after painstaking research to enhance and optimize the potential of cranberries and other acidic fruits, we at West Invest are proud to announce that we have developed an industrial innovation that will put the fruit at center stage. The cranberry is ultimately a beautiful symphony—you just have to tune out the off-key notes."
F.I.E.R.TM industrial technology is a great solution for the agrifood industry of tomorrow, as it costs less than 2¢ per liter to implement. In concrete terms, it is capable of processing 50,000 liters per day of cranberry juice or any other type of product. The device, consisting of four chromatography reactors, can process a wide range of products thanks to an automation and regulation module allowing the operator to adjust and stabilize the pH of the desired solutions. The process can be easily integrated into any existing production line with very low implementation costs.
The tool's capacity suggests easy scalability to accommodate higher productivity levels. West Invest is currently working on a unit capable of processing 250,000 liters per day. Going from 50,000 liters to 250,000 liters is much easier than scaling up from the laboratory to the pre-industrial stage.
Renowned international organizations and laboratories such as the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ), have validated the technology and certified that it preserves the phenolic profile of deacidified cranberry juice. As such, it fully preserves the polyphenolic compounds and anthocyanin pigments—the cranberry's claim to fame—throughout the entire process.
While the cranberry market is supported by dried fruit, which accounts for around 70% of production, F.I.E.R. technology optimizes and reduces the use of sugars in the production of dried products and candying by replacing them with nutrient-rich deacidified juices.
"This discovery will affect all parts of the economy positively," says Eric Reynaud. "It's a win–win that will generate both jobs and consumer health benefits."
ABOUT WEST INVEST
Founded in 2015 by Eric Reynaud, West Invest seeks to provide solutions to certain challenges in the agrifood industry. The company is driven by the desire to carry out projects "from the field" to the consumer by creating healthy products, showcasing fruit, and developing ingredients for the agrifood and beverage industry.
SOURCE West Invest