Cutting-edge technology helps wheatgrass company grow
A Warrenpoint firm has harvested the growing demand for wheatgrass by using technology from a local research institute.
Squeeze Juice Cafe sells a range of juices and grows wheatgrass using hydroponic technology.
It worked with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Belfast to extend the shelf life of the juice it produces so it can reach a wider customer base.
It sells the wheatgrass juice in sachets through its website by utilising AFBI's high pressure technique in extending the life of the product to three weeks.
Jacquelyn Stewart, Squeeze Juice Cafe owner, said: "The first juice had a shelf life of just two hours which meant I had to find a natural way of extending this to ensure commercial viability. I contacted AFBI and they made their high pressure system available.
"As a result, the shelf life has been extended to three weeks. I then launched a website to market the juice in a handy sachet and it's proving to be an outstanding success.
"Selling over the internet enables us to juice the wheatgrass to order and deliver as fresh as possible within a few days. Encouragingly, I've seen quite a bit of interest from outside Northern Ireland including the Republic of Ireland. These contacts have convinced me that there is substantial export potential for the juice."
Olive Hill, Invest NI's director of technology, said: "Squeeze Juice Cafe had a specific issue over shelf life and sought advice and practical support through the Innovation Voucher scheme."