The company has partnered with local farmers and the Jewish National Fund to initiate research on the carob plant
FoodTech/agriTech start-up CarobWay, together with the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), has kicked off a nationwide research initiative for carob trees. The start-up has also sealed agreements with R&D farms and local farming communities in Israel to optimise carob cultivation.
CarobWay currently harvests carobs from key forests in several parts of Israel owned by the JNF. The start-up also established its first 70-hectare modern carob grove in the Upper Galilee region. The move was in conjunction with two R&D farms, Hulata and Galilee Agricultural, as well as five other collective farms. The venture is part of a 10-year joint project to combine Israeli agricultural knowledge and technology for the intensive cultivation of high-yield carob trees. The project will adhere to sustainability and fair-trade ideals.
“We applied several analytical methods to attain a deeper understanding of various carob species and their unique characteristics specifically so that we can tailor our offerings more adroitly to our clients,” says Udi Alroy, co-founder and CEO of Carobway. “For example, some carob species grow fruit with higher sugar content, albeit with a naturally low glycaemic index). These can serve the needs of food and beverage companies seeking viable sugar alternatives. Other trees bear more seeds and so are more suited to the locust bean gum industry.”
Hulata runs a model grove dedicated to R&D, wherein local carob varieties and their cultivation methods from irrigation through to pollination technologies are regularly analysed by CarobWay staff. The orchard is fully automated and digitalised, the company says, gathering all cultivation and meteorological data.
The start-up also has made headway in creating innovative carob-centered food products in its private lab. “Carob is a highly nutritious and flavourful fruit, yet its true potential has yet to be realised,” added Alroy. “We are continually striving to bring the best of this super crop back to the table and to boost the carob value chain.