Fruits are one food type that can either be eaten as they are or they can be turned into juice or other products through processing.

Companies like Fooditive try to give them another purpose, however, by making sweeteners out of fruits that don't look good enough to be sold at stores or aren't used for making juice or other fruit products.

Fooditive is a company based in the Netherlands that specializes in developing plant-based alternatives to certain products, such as sweeteners.

We learnt more about the team's accomplishments, their challenges and future plans for their company from Moayad Abushokhedim, the entrepreneur that came up with the idea behind Fooditive.

How Fooditive wants to revolutionize the food industry

Fooditive was founded in the Netherlands in 2018 by Moayad Abushokhedim, a Jordanian food scientist, who planned to bring plant-based alternatives to sweeteners that would keep the taste and properties of sugar.

He was able to develop such a product after he studied Food Science, specializing in food fermentation.

In order to create the sweetener that would be good for the people and the planet and that would preserve the qualities of sugar, the team behind the project needed 11 years in order to perfect their product.

The company launched this new product in its home country shortly after it was founded, bringing a sweetener that is close to sugar both in taste and properties, without the extra calories.

A business worth 26 million euros

Fooditive was able to raise the money necessary for starting the business with the help of fundraising platforms as a share value investment, we were told.

The company, supported by Rabobank, reached a value of 26 million euro at the end of 2021, through fundraising.

Right now, the team raises funds to support their Novel Food application for the sweetener and to reach new markets.

The need for a new type of sweetener

We were curious as to why the team decided to bring a plant-based alternative to sugar, and we found out that they wanted to offer a healthier version that would otherwise be indistinguishable from traditional sugar.

Moayad Abushokhedim told us that "sugar can cause a variety of health problems and a growing number of people are looking for food products with clear nutritional labels. During the development of the sweetener, we wanted to create an ingredient that could successfully replace sugar in food and beverage products in terms of the taste and the functionalities."

This way, the company hopes that sweets manufacturers will not use sugar in their products and replace it with their own plant-based sweetener.

photo source: Fooditive Facebook page

How does it differentiate itself from other sweeteners

With sugar alternatives already available on the market, the team at Fooditive needed to find an innovative solution to replace them that would be good enough to be used in various products.

Moayad Abushokhedim explained that "after extensive research in the market, we saw that the food industry needs healthy and functional ingredients. There are plenty of sweeteners in the market but our uniqueness is grounded in the nature of the sweetener itself. It mimics sugar without any off-tastes and is suitable for many product applications, from beverages and confectionery to chocolate and even savory products."

This means that the company's new product has multiple applications and it can be used even for non-sweet products, such as potato chips and cracker seasonings.

The customers Fooditive caters to

Currently, Fooditive works with a number of food based businesses in the European Union in order to implement the new sweetener in their products.

However, the company has plans to enter the business-to-consumer market this year with their plant-based milk alternative, called GoPeasy.

"We sell natural, plant-based ingredients to a wide range of businesses in the food industry, both small and large. Chocolate & confectionery, baked foods, beverages, ice cream, and dairy products are just a few of the applications. However, we are entering the business-to-consumer market with our plant-based milk drink, GoPeasy. We aim to release the product in the Dutch market in 2022. It comes in three flavours: Natural, Dark Velvet (chocolate and cherries), and LemonBerry (strawberry and lemon)", Moayad Abushokhedim told us.

Also, the Dutch company is focused on collaborating with European partners and serving customers on the continent, but it wants to expand to the rest of the world in the future.

The challenges a food company faces

According to Fooditive, the biggest challenge is getting the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approval, due to the novelty of its product, but the team behind the project is certain that all the effort will be worth it, since they trust the product's market value.

The company is currently working with a partner in the Netherlands in order to scale up the production to meet demand, and it already has a network of companies that it will work with once the production gets going.

Repurposing side streams of fruits

The team at Fooditive gets their raw materials from supermarkets and farmers in order to prevent side streams of fruits and leftovers, such as juice pulp and skin, from becoming food waste.

This way, they say that they ”valorize side streams from the food industry to help them become more sustainable and generate profit from their waste."

Plans for 2022

Fooditive's main focus for the rest of this year is to get their sweetener approved by the EFSA as a Novel Food, which the representatives expect to take a lot of time and effort.

The company also plans that by the end of this year it will release its plant-based milk drink, GoPeasy, in order to enter the business-to-consumer market.

Photo source: Fooditive Facebook page