US military know-how makes for some juicy secrets

Vegus Juices is the first company in the world to make a drink from super healthy broccoli sprouts, writes Joe Dermody

Wexford drinks company Vegus Juices has used a secret US military ready-meals production technique to produce a “super-juice” from über-healthy organic broccoli sprouts — a conundrum which has been puzzling the world’s health food sector for years.

Vegus Juices founder Michael Reynolds, a former tax adviser from California, believes his company’s latest juice is a world first. With some 300 studies confirming the health benefits of broccoli sprouts (young sprouts), global agri-food firms have been in a race to produce a convenient, organic juice from the health-enhancing plant.

Mr Reynolds said: “Broccoli sprouts are termed a super-food because of their health properties but they don’t keep well, so people have being trying to crack how to make a juice from them for years now. The problem in the past was that heating the juice to kill bacteria also destroyed anti-oxidants and taste.

“Our unique method was developed by the US military for ready-made meals and uses high pressure without heat, so the juices are still considered a raw organic food, which is very unique.”

Mr Reynolds believes he has won that race. He has been growing broccoli sprouts and wheatgrass, and turning them into their healthy, organic juices since 2008, when he arrived in Wexford from California. Vegus is the only company in the world to produce these shelf-stable juices using a secret high-pressure method, which does not need refrigeration.

The method does not use heat, so none of the broccoli sprouts’ intense anti-oxidants or taste is lost. Prior to this, the problem was that the raw sprouts did not have a long shelf life so they needed to be refrigerated at all times, which limited distribution, and costs that meant production was uneconomical.

Vegus’s method ensures the juices are produced from raw broccoli sprouts and are shelf-stable, so they do not require refrigeration.

Mr Reynolds said: “The health benefits of broccoli sprouts have been known for some years, as they are loaded with up to 100 times the nutrients of fully grown broccoli. Broccoli sprout juices have been considered the holy grail for juice producers, due to the concentrated nature of anti-oxidants sulfurophane glucosinolate (SGS) and isothiocyanates.”

Mr Reynolds set up Vegus Juices after he moved from growing broccoli sprouts in the US to Wexford, which he sees as the perfect location for producing the juice.

There are now over 300 studies confirming the health benefits of broccoli sprouts and SGS.

Peer reviewed studies by John Hopkins University found that eating broccoli sprouts every day helped prevent cancer. They reduced by 40% the level of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria infection, which causes stomach ulcers that can lead to cancer.

As well as reducing the risk of stomach cancer, they also found that they slowed tumour growth in patients. Other studies have shown that the same broccoli sprout SGS nutrients were useful in preventing or treating a long list of conditions including heart disease, cancer, macular degeneration, stomach ulcers, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease. The University of California even suggested they might slow down the ageing process.

And what’s Michael’s secret to producing a raw shelf-stable broccoli sprout juice? “I’d be giving away my crown jewels if I told you my methods, but what I can say is that we are the only people in the world making broccoli sprout super juice this way. Ireland really does lead the world in juices.”


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