Yehuda Deutsch carries pre-measured, portioned sachets of dried lemon powder called Lemon Tree in his pocket everywhere he goes.
The general manager and owner of Israeli company Israfoods (2006) Ltd even has the song of the same name by German band Fool’s Garden as the ring tone for his mobile phone.
A friend had a cold and told Deutsch that he needed something for a trip.
Yehuda told his friend to take the lemon powder the latter had at home.
“After two days, he told me he’s ok. I do not know if it’s the product but hey, he was ok,” Deutsch tells Food News International at a press tour in Israel in June 2015, which was organized by The Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute.
“Another thing I found out by accident that if you put a bit of the lemon powder on ulcers on the tongue, they will be gone in 10 minutes. It’s unbelievable.”
Lemon in a packet
The concentrated lemon powder is produced through a drying and proprietary crystallization process with aroma derived from lemon oil.
Each sachet contains 0.7 g of lemon powder, which is about a quarter of a fresh lemon.
“The product is non-GMO, free from preservatives, gluten, sugar and artificial ingredients. It contains 35 mg of Vitamin C per serving of a sachet, which is 35% of recommended use for an adult,” says Deutsch.
“There’s zero waste as the whole lemon is used to make the powder. The product has 18 months of shelf life.”
While the individually portioned sachets are catered for consumer, retail, foodservice and catering sectors, there are bulk packages of 1 kg and 5 kg, and even 25 kg, if needed, for food manufacturers in the bakery sector for example.
“We are working with an international bakery based in York with branches in Portugal and Mexico, which intends to use the lemon powder for mass production of its products, instead of the ingredients it is using,” says Yehuda.
In Asia, the company has recently received an order from China.
Five companies in Vietnam have expressed interest in the lemon powder and a supermarket chain in Taiwan is interested in the product as it plans for a short Israeli fair in stores.
The proof is in the lemon
At a product demonstration, the lemon powder that was sprinkled on fresh slices of avocado dissolves almost instantly and there was a zing when I consumed the buttery fruit.
When stirred into a glass of cola, the lemony taste overpowers the caramel flavor of the soft drink, resulting to a sweet, fizzy lemon-like beverage.
When the powder was stirred into a glass of water, the taste and mouthfeel are similar to that of adding fresh juice of one lemon into a glass of water.
Community outreach of a different kind
After sourcing large quantities of lemons from California, US, the company processes them in the country and Switzerland.
The final process of grinding, mixing and packaging the products is done in Israel.
Besides having three full time staff, the company hires people from Shavim, an occupational rehabilitation association caring for those with mental health issues, to pack the products and do simple work.
“I hire them because I know that they have a very difficult life. It is hard for them to find work and they may be looked down upon by other people,” says Deutsch.
“I want to give back the good that I have received. I don’t have to but I want to hire these people, who are accompanied by instructors when they work in my factory.”
“I can see that they feel good that they are a part of a big family and they work with vigor. It’s a great feeling for me.”
And that would probably be a positive therapy session for those working in the factory, as it would give them an avenue to complete tasks in their hands, while earning a decent keep.