Food and beverage companies are encouraged to register their interest in the opportunity to develop a new sugarcane-based product that has almost no calories, known as PlantZap.
PlantZap is a sugarcane extract developed locally by scientists at the Queensland Government’s Health and Food Sciences Precinct.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said PlantZap could significantly reduce the calorie content of soft drinks, energy drinks, juice, dairy foods and other food products while increasing sugar mill output.
“With the focus on health and nutrition, adding PlantZap to foods and beverages provides sweetness without the extra calories, making it an ideal additive for a huge range of foods,” he said.
“Imagine how appealing that would be for food manufacturers and consumers.”
According to researchers, an important component of the PlantZap production process is the significant benefits to sugar mill producers.
The filtration process for extracting the concentrate produces a juice stream which requires less energy for clarification and crystalisation. This translates into better quality sugar produced more efficiently.
Mr Furner said the next step is finding a commercial developer to take the product forward.
“We’ve released an EOI to identify companies with the ability to commercialise the technology, either within Australia or globally,” Mr Furner said.
“This could be of interest to sugar mills, food and beverage companies, or food additive suppliers.
“We are looking for a company that would initially invest in a pilot plant co-located with a sugar mill to produce small commercial quantities of PlantZap for consumer trials.
“PlantZap is a natural plant-based product, rich in potassium and low in calories that can be safely added to any food or beverage, delivering on low or zero sugar marketing.
“The market for such a product is enormous. However, as always, the challenge is to find the right commercial partner.”
PlantZap EOI information is available at www.hpw.qld.gov.au/qtenders/
The closing date to respond to the EOI is 31 May 2019.
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