Savio Healthy Innovations | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021
The Savio family has been growing apples for over 70 years. Increasingly demanding retail specifications has seen fruit once considered food- grade now demoted to juicing fruit.
This is problematic for two reasons: 1) the nutrients and fibre are lost as the peel and pulp are discarded and 2) the juice price for apples is lower than food-grade, delivering minimal return on a premium product.
The Savios looked for an innovative way to sustainably convert whole apple seconds and lower-grade fruit into a value-added everyday product rich in nutrients. They enlisted Deborah Loosley to help review the market, identify opportunities and drive the process.
Food processing engineer Gordon Young became technical lead and determined that the product needed to: 1) utilise the whole apple to get nutritional benefit, 2) taste like a fresh apple and 3) be consumed as a drink, which presented quite a challenge.
It took three years to get the Upple formula bedded down and to produce a convenient drinkable whole apple snack. Containing 99.99% apple and 0.1% vitamin C, Upple stands alone in a new category of drinkable whole fruit, offering higher fibre and nutritional levels than juice.
Upple is produced onsite at the Savio’s orchard in a HACCP accredited factory using a unique manufacturing process (patent pending). FIAL provided matched funding for the development of the product after recognising the product’s innovative nature.
“It takes courage and commitment to truly innovate, particularly in a space as crowded and noisy as the beverage market. The fact that the Savio family was willing to take a risk and invest, with FIAL’s support, in a completely new idea bodes well for the food industry,” Deborah said.
Though the onset of COVID-19 delayed the formal launch, Upple was a finalist in the Australasian Food & Beverage Awards 2020 before the product even hit the market.