Provalor creates fibers and juices from vegetable rejects, no more “leftovers”

Published: 03-02-2014

The company has developed a unique technical concept for extracting juice from remnants of vegetables. Provalor owns several patents that protect its proprietary technology. This development of products from industrial by-products not only leads to innovative technologies, but also fosters new partnerships in the chain, generates new business for the partners, and benefits the environment. So, Provalor not only collaborates with research institutes like TNO and Wageningen University and Research Centre, it also actively joins forces with fresh vegetable suppliers, food processing equipment manufacturers, and juice bottlers.

Provalor installations are currently up and running in Germany, in Belgium, and in Helmond, the Netherlands. It is preferable that the processing of rejected vegetables takes place at the vegetable processing companies themselves. This saves on transport costs and energy, but is also important in terms of product quality. At first, installations were set up on a pilot basis. Provalor delivered the equipment, and the vegetable processing companies made some infrastructure adjustments, such as the construction of a cold room for the raw materials. The vegetable processing companies were paid by Provalor for the juice that they produced, and Provalor, in turn, supplied the juice to bottlers. “Vegetable processing companies can also choose to market the juice themselves,” Kosters adds. “In this case, they have to take a license on our patent, of course.” These pilot projects have turned out to be very successful and, in fact, have already started to turn a profit.

In Helmond, Provalor is working in a joint venture with vegetable company Rijko. This joint venture, which operates under the name Procarrot, is located adjacent to several vegetable processing companies in order to be close to the source of raw materials. Carrots, beetroots, and cucumbers are being processed. “Based on our demand, the vegetable processing companies deliver their vegetable by-products to us,” Kosters explains proudly. “Due to high market demand, Provalor can process almost 100% of their residue flow.” The complete production process takes place in three coupled units. Carrots are finely ground. After heating, the juice is separated from the pulp. The juice is then pasteurized, cooled, and stabilized for pH before it is loaded into trucks and transported to juice bottlers around Europe.

Provalor’s market share in vegetable juice in Europe, especially in countries like Germany, France, Belgium, the U.K., Spain, and Hungary, is substantial and increasing. The company currently handles carrots, leek, courgettes, beetroots, cucumbers, and spinach, and is about to process tomatoes and sweet peppers. Says Kosters: “The commercial production line for tomatoes will differ from the carrot processing line. For instance, bunches and sepals have to be removed, otherwise the juice will become bitter.”

Pulp that remains after production of juices can still be sold as fodder. However, there are more interesting alternatives, both in terms of sustainability and cost-effectiveness. “The remaining pulp is also valuable material,” Kosters explains. “Natural coloring agents can be extracted. For example, the dye extracted from the red beet is used to color blackberry sorbet and to enhance the color of red meat. Furthermore, a range of ingredients for human consumption, like fibers, vitamins, flavonoids, and amino acids can be isolated.” Provalor is even considering creating value out of the nutrient-poor pulp that remains after the extraction of specific ingredients, through conversion into hydrogen.

Kosters stresses the importance of food fibers as part of a healthy diet. “De-juiced vegetables are surprisingly well suited for processing into food products for human consumption,” Kosters says enthusiastically. “They not only contribute to a better structure or firmness for food products, but are also a source of gluten-free food fibers — hence, well suited for people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease.” Dough or paste made from de-juiced vegetables are two to three times higher in fiber content than the vegetables from which they came. And, since most are insoluble food fibers, this is a clear health benefit. Also, adding de-juiced carrots and other vegetables to other types of food products, such as meat and vegetarian products, can improve the structure of these products and may also have beneficial effects on the color and on flavor experience. In combination with gluten-free flour, a tasty, high-fiber, gluten-free bread can be baked. “De-juiced vegetables can even be used in pastry,” Kosters adds.

Provalor’s mission, technology, and business model has attracted a lot of attention and approval that bodes well for the future. Provalor was the proud winner of the Food Valley Award for Innovation in 2006, and has received honorable mention for displaying and promoting corporate social responsibility by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and FNLI (Federation Netherlands Food and Grocery Industry). “This recognition is an enormous stimulus for us to continue to develop our ‘Innovation through Concentration’ concept,” concludes Kosters.

Contact details:
Mr. Paulus Kosters:
Telephone: +31 6 120 87 156