While in India as part of a State visit, the Walloon Minister-President Willy Borsus signed an agreement on behalf of Wallonia with the Indian company Petiva, which makes a 100% natural, calorie-free sugar from beetroot.
Partnership with the region's farmers
The Indian company wanted to set up in Wallonia and asked the region's farmers for assistance in increasing its production. The investment would be worth several tens of millions of euros and could create more than 50 jobs.
PIERRE HEYMANS, AWEX AGRI-FOOD EXPERT
Petiva's product falls within the "rare sugars" category of 100% natural sugars that can be found in flower nectar and beehives, but in insufficient quantities to be used economically
A zero calorie sugar without harmful effects
The Indian company transforms the normal sugar into zero-calorie sugar through the use of enzymes. These "rare sugars" are not yet authorised in the European Union, but the administrative processes are underway, stated the expert. The unique feature of the product is that it still has the texture and taste of traditional sugar but without the negative impact on health, stressed Willy Borsus.
The agreement signed in Mumbai concerns a greenfield project, with two pieces of land in Wallonia currently being studied for this purpose. It could be operational by 2019. Several potential clients have already expressed an interest and a product test phase will take place in December. This investment would represent several tens of millions of euros.