Israeli innovations tackle better eating

While the cuisine is making inroads in the UK, innovation is also happening on the product development side, from healthy snacking to sustainable proteins.

2 October 2019
image credit: Strauss Group

Futuristic freeze-dried snacks

The food giant Strauss Group wants to target the healthy snacking market with a new freeze-dried product that uses fruits, vegetables and grains. Its product, called Astro, aims to fill the gap created by people moving from three meals a day to grazing throughout.

New tech has been added to the tool belt to make the product. Unlike other freeze-drying processes used by big brand cereal companies where fruit ingredients are individually dried, Strauss can combine a bunch together to go through the drying process.

Two Astro prototypes have been created: one with 49% mango, pineapple and passion fruit, 25% quinoa and other grains, 22.5% chia and sesame seeds and 3.5% maple syrup; the other has 47% strawberry and beet, 26% quinoa and grains, 23.5% almonds, sunflower seeds and oils and 3.5% maple syrup.

A third green prototype is still under development but initially contained spinach and kiwi fruit. The nutritional cubes have a shelf life of four months.

“When you freeze dry something, you remove the water only and very quickly,” Astro marketing manager Shira Shaked told Food Spark’s sister site Food Navigator. “So it preserves the nutritional values and the taste of fresh ingredients. It’s even better than a home-cooked meal, because it is just the fresh ingredients. We are not using concentrates.”

Strauss wants to launch into global markets, with the US its first target.

Low-carb and low-GI bread and chocolate

Start-up A1C Foods wants to tap into the trend for low-carb, high-fat diets like keto and paleo.

It has transformed bread and chocolate to accord with these nutritional requirements, lowering their normal GI (low GI foods cause a lower and slower rise in blood sugar levels – and usually insulin levels). The products are also vegan, kosher and do not contain artificial sweeteners.

Sold under the brand name Eatsane, A1C’s bread contains 21% plant protein, less sugar than its counterparts and, most importantly, doesn’t taste like conventional low-GI bread, according to the company.

Chocolate comes in three varieties: classic, spiced and coffee. The classic has a GI rating of 19 and contains cocoa pulp, cocoa butter, cocoa, soy lecithin emulsion, almonds, vegetable oil and spices.

“This is amazingly low,” said co-founder Dr Mariela Glandt. “It is about the same GI as a good quality 85-90% chocolate, but the experience is much smoother and nicer.”

Already sold in 50 stores in Israel, it is eyeing expansion into the US in 2020 and the EU, while other products in the pipeline include pasta, ice cream and cookies.

Fruit fly protein

Another start-up called Flying Spark is finding success with its sustainable insect protein. Made from the Mediterranean fruit fly larvae, it supplies both an odourless and tasteless powder and oil, along with a textured protein to be used in imitation meat like chicken, beef and fish. Other applications for its ingredients include sweet and savoury bakery products, sports nutrition foods and dairy-free cheese.

Its powder consists of 70% protein, 12% minerals, 7% fibre, 7% fat and 4% water – everything good you would get from an animal product, without any of the bad things, says the company, as it has no cholesterol and a low environmental impact.

It’s received interest from the likes of Nestle and Ikea and recently partnered with Thai Union, the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products

Sugar reduction

There must be something in the water over in Israel, as it has become a hotbed of innovation surrounding changing consumer diets. Food Spark has previously highlighted how companies DouxMatok, Better Juice and Gat Foods have been looking for interesting sugar reduction solutions, from fruit-based replacements to enhancing the perception of the sweet stuff.

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