Carob bean pods are the fruits of the carob tree, which is native to the Mediterranean region. The trees, some of which are several hundred years old, grow mostly wild and, to some extent, in cultivated areas in the costal regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco and Spain are the most important countries of origin for the carob bean pods. The harvesting starts at the end of August in Morocco. Then the fruit works its way up North, so that by November, all pods should be in the warehouses of the “kibblers”, who separate the seeds from the pulp. With a sugar content of more than 50%, the pulp is mainly used as animal feed, while the seeds are used to produce carob bean gum.
In Polygal AG’s Spanish plant, the seeds are shelled and the endosperms are separated from the seedlings. Carob bean gum is obtained by milling these endosperms (splits) – this is then used in the food industry. The germ produced from the seedlings is a high quality plant protein with excellent properties for gluten-free bakery and plant based meat alternatives. The yield from the seed to the final product, the carob bean gum, is around 35%.