CarobWay promises ‘long-term supply solution’ for locust bean gum market

0


The seeds of the pod of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliquaL.) are used to make locust bean gum, a Clean Label hydrocolloid prized by food manufacturers for its functional benefits, such as desirable mouthfeel, resistance to melting, and its ability to stabilize protein, in particular vegetable proteins.

The locust bean gum market is however very unstable, with prices fluctuating enormously. The demand for locust bean gum has increased in recent years due to its suitability for many plant-based food and beverage applications, putting additional pressure on supplies.

This summer, Denis Seisun, industry expert and founder of hydrocolloid consultancy firm IMR International, reported that prices were over $ 60 per kilo, A record.

The Israeli start-up CarobWay, founded in 2020, hopes to alleviate this market instability. Udi Alroy, CEO and co-founder of the start-up, said CarobWay’s vertically integrated operations will primarily serve the locust bean industry with “Long-term supply solutions”,As well as to seek to develop a range of other ingredients based on carob pods.

“The current supply chain is not stable because most of the trees grow in the forest and are cultivated manually. CarobWay brings innovation to this traditional market with advanced agricultural methods ”, said Alroy.

However, the relief will not be immediate. It is currently investing heavily in R&D and plans to launch its first product line by 2023.

Old culture, new technology

The start-up recently established its first 70-hectare (173-acre) carob orchard in the Upper Galilee region, in collaboration with two R&D farms, Hulata and Galilee Agricultural Co., and five other collective farms.

The Hulata Model Grove is fully automated and computerized, gathering all crop and climate data, and equipped to test various cultivation methods such as irrigation and pollination techniques on local varieties of carob, a-t -he declares.

CarobWay also recently partnered with the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), Israel’s oldest environmental arm, in a 10-year joint research project that will study the intensive cultivation of high-yielding carob trees.

In collaboration with the FNJ-KKL, CarobWay will participate in a national survey on the carob tree and has developed an agri-app for this purpose.

The CarobWay app enables instant data collection in the field. It classifies trees during harvest, collects samples and analyzes these samples on a geographic information system (GIS) platform, recording field data such as location, tree yield and volume of trees. seeds per pod.

“Our evaluation process for the best species includes finding the best and most productive trees ”, Alroy told FoodNavigator-USA. Once we have harvested them, we examine the chemical structure properties of carob beans and pods. We have developed an accelerated analytical methodology in which we can select hundreds of favorite carob trees during the harvest season.

By at the end of the season, we receive a clear and very precise map of the most effective or to tasteier ‘ trees. These trees are also evaluated for their nutritional attributes and industrial processing properties. We have five types of carob in Israel, and each is quite different from the other in its characteristics. The nutritional profile of each ha subtypes a different profile which in some cases is a derivative of the climate or the amount of rainfall in the specific region.

By deepening its understanding of the functionality and characteristics of various species of carob, CarobWay says it will be able to develop ingredients tailored to the needs of food manufacturers. Some species of carob produce fruits that are naturally higher in sugar content, which could be used by food and drink brands seeking low glycemic index sugar. Other species whose pods contain more seeds are more suited to the carob market.

Alroy described CarobWay’s business model as “vertically influenced“. He works with carob growers in Israel under “A ten-year commercial offer of the most competitive” And guarantees its producers a fixed price for the duration of the cultivation period. CarobWay also agrees to purchase the entire crop from the farm.

A smart ingredient for the climate

Carob trees are extremely hardy and can tolerate harsh conditions such as drought, low soil fertility, brackish water, and high temperatures up to 50 ° C.

According to Sohel Zedan, FNJ forestry officer and expert in carob cultivation and agriculture, most of Israel’s carob trees were planted by the FNJ in the 1950s as part of a major afforestation campaign. However, some trees have been growing wild in forests for thousands of years, becoming resistant to climatic shocks and environmental changes.

“Many of these deep-rooted perennial trees have a long lifespan, with the potential to live for decades, if not centuries. This makes it a highly sustainable, yet low-maintenance crop – characteristics we look for when selecting the best species to grow ”, he said.

According to Alroy, the company now has 10 growers supplying it with carob crops and will have 25 growers by next year. CarobWay is currently harvesting locust beans from forests in several parts of Israel belonging to the JNF.


Share.

Comments are closed.