Upper Galilee, Israel – FoodTech and agriTech start-up CarobWay, Ltd. is bringing carob from the Bible to the modern table as a super-nutritious, highly sustainable food crop. The company cultivates locally grown carob trees to boost carob-based product development. The CarobWay start-up paves the way to sustainable, advanced agriculture, while guaranteeing fair-trade return to the growers. The result is a resilient food system that is beneficial to all partners in the supply chain.
It’s all about sustainable crop
Global warming, environmental stresses, and other limitations demand increased attention to minor or neglected crops, especially a multifunctional crop such as carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.). Carob is a highly resilient species of tree that flourishes in arid climates, mostly in Africa and Asia. Genotypes of the carob tree demonstrate great tolerance to drought, low soil fertility, brackish water, pollution, and high temperatures (up to 50°C).
“The key ingredient in developing a sustainable carob crop is using advanced agriTech knowhow to grow the trees more intensively and efficiently,” explains Udi Alroy, CEO and Co-founder of CarobWay. “Today, most carob trees are grown in forests and require intensive human labor. We optimize the cultivation process from the seedling stage through harvest, using less labor, refined irrigation, and mechanical harvesting.” CarobWay will employ industrialized harvesting via a variety of technologies developed from other crops cultivated in the region.
Carob can grow on non-arable land—including deserts—where no other crops can grow without significant, often unsustainable investments. “We can potentially grow this super-crop on arid land, which covers 46 percent of the surface of the planet,” states Alroy.
Long-term, Partnerships + Fair Trade = Success
CarobWay takes its eco-supportive model even further. The company’s business model is founded on long-term business relationships. “Growers should get a safe, stable income as they invest in the future of food,” explains Alroy. “With climate change, increasing wildfires, and diminishing water supplies, farmers are on the frontline, taking all the responsibility in the supply chain. We’re going to change that, by creating a complete value chain that is beneficial to all partners involved from grove to table. We are currently establishing long-term business arrangements with global partners.”
CarobWay engages in multi-annual supply agreements to enable a stable and secure supply chain of a variety of healthy ingredients derived from carob for food and supplement manufacturers around the world. “This focus on ownership of the whole-value chain from farm to fork enables us to provide fully controlled, sustainable products on a continuous basis,” Guido Schaer, Co-founder and CTO.
A fruit known in antiquity and celebrated in the Bible, the carob fruit pod consists of about 90% pulp and 10% seeds by weight at full maturity. Carob seeds have, in fact been the most valuable part of the pods exploited industrially for the production of locust bean gum (LBG), a common natural ingredient. Carob sugars and fibers are widely used in the food industry mainly in the form of carob powder.
CarobWay will utilize the whole carob and market each ingredient toward different food applications and uses. For example, carob provides a natural sweetener suitable for beverages. The sugar is low glycemic index (GI), very sweet, provides energy, and is a good fit for people with diabetes or digestive health issues. Carob also contains high-value, functional protein that can enhance a variety of food and beverage products. Carob fibers can be used to excellent effect in cereals and bars. This super fruit contains high nutritional value, is gluten-free and non-allergic. It is extensively researched around the world and has no regulatory barriers.
About CarobWay! How it started
Udi Alroy, was seeking a sustainable super-crop that can grow in dry weather with almost no water to address the strained resources of our climate-stressed planet. Working on daily basis with growers and agriculture organizations, he found the holy grail – carob crop. Carob tree is an ancient crop, cultivated for millennia in the Mediterranean. Together with his partners, he founded CarobWay in 2020 and set up its vertically integrated system dedicated to growing and commercializing carob and carob-centered products. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team went full-steam ahead with the establishment, on a small plot of land in the Upper Galilee region, of the first modern carob grove. It combines Israeli agricultural know-how and innovative technology for an intensive, high-yield cultivation of carob trees optimizing land use, applying mechanized harvesting methods.
About the team.
The three co-founders: Udi Alroy, Guido Schaer, and Jeff Lahav. Alroy brings 20 years in global management, marketing & sales in food, foodTech and ingredients. He has established and maintains flourishing networks throughout the US, EU, and Japan. He also served as VP of marketing and sales for Lycored for eight years. Schaer has worked in leading food and pharma companies such as Roche. He is a global industry leader, expert in building and optimizing food and pharma manufacturing plants. He also has extensive networks in food innovation and business development for innovative products. Lahav has worked for 35 years as an advisor on legal and business affairs and international transactions, specializing in agriculture space.