Meet TREHA®︎
These days, busy consumers want fresh, appealing foods, on demand, all day long. That presents a paradox—and a real wastage challenge—for foodservice professionals. How do you offer “just made” foods that are available to grab and go all day long? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple way to stop throwing away perfectly good food that times out so quickly in your cold case, salad bar, steam table, pastry case—even in your delivery orders?
Introducing TREHA®, the culinary secret from Japan. TREHA® is the leading brand of trehalose, a plant-based food ingredient with the amazing natural ability to extend many aspects of freshness in foods.
What is Treha®︎?
What is TREHA®
History of TREHA®
Nagase Viita’s TREHA®
What is TREHA®
History of TREHA®
Nagase Viita’s TREHA®
What is TREHA®︎
TREHA®︎ is high purity trehalose—a naturally occurring, not-very-sweet sugar that can be found in many foods (such as mushrooms and yeast) all over the world. Using TREHA®︎ in your recipes can help keep your food looking and tasting fresh and appealing because, due to its unique molecular structure, it’s able to maintain food moisture and natural structure of proteins. Though it’s a sugar (it looks almost exactly like regular table sugar) and is similar in many ways to other sugars such as sucrose and maltose, TREHA®︎ is uniquely effective in promoting moisture retention, enabling it to protect foods from drying out. In fact, foods made with TREHA®︎ stay moist and delicious for hours—or even days—longer than the same foods made without it.
Where does
trehalose️ come from?
Trehalose is not a rare sugar but is universally present around us in large quantities. It has been confirmed that trehalose is contained in most edible mushrooms and relates to the reconstitution of dried shiitake mushrooms. That’s why it is also referred to as mushroom sugar. Because trehalose is contained in marine plants such as 'hijiki' seaweed, it is called seaweed sugar in China.
In fact, trehalose is found in dry yeast, accounting for 12% by dry weight of baker’s yeast. For this reason, dry yeast can be preserved in a dried state without losing fermentative activity. Fermented products including beer and wine contain trehalose. We take in trehalose in our daily lives without thinking about it.
History of TREHA®
Though trehalose was first discovered in 1832 by H.A.L. Wiggers in an ergot of rye, it was tremendously difficult to extract. This made it so prohibitively expensive to produce in quantity that it was considered a luxury item. In fact, for more than 160 years after its discovery, the practical use of trehalose was considered impossible. It wasn’t until 1994 when the Japanese food ingredient company Hayashibara Co., Ltd. (Nagase Viita Co., Ltd. at present) developed a way to mass-produce trehalose from starch that it was able to be marketed commercially.
Today, TREHA® is a Japanese go-to ingredient, used in many sorts of foods—both sweet and savory—to provide many functional benefits. TREHA®︎ increases the shelf-life and improves the texture of baked goods, stabilizes proteins, reduces freeze-thaw damage and improves flavor and aroma. But it’s not solely used in Japan; TREHA® is used as an ingredient in more than 25,000 products sold world-wide.
Over 20 years after its launch, TREHA® is making its debut into the US foodservice industry so that American chefs and cooks can discover all the ways it can be used to preserve freshness, enhances flavor, mask off-notes and improve texture in both sweet and savory dishes.
Right in our own backyard: The Amazing Story of TREHA®
Over the years, Nagase Viita Co., Ltd., a research and development company specializing in the production of syrups and sugars, has conducted a variety of food science research using enzymes from microorganisms.
The company has a long tradition of giving a small bag and a spoon to all of its employees and encouraging them to bring back soil samples from their travels far and wide. This micro-treasure hunt is a way to broaden the reach of the company’s researchers, the hope being that the soil brought home might contain as yet undiscovered microorganisms and enzymes that will prove useful in the company’s syrup and sugar production.
In early 1990’s, one night, one of the young researchers in the company, Kazuhiko Maruta, dreamt of a “sparkling colony” (a visible mass of a single species of microorganisms). Two days later, a microorganism that produces trehalose producing enzymes was discovered. Surprisingly, it was found in a soil sample taken right from his company’s home city of Okayama, Japan. This is how the unique enzymes that produce trehalose were brought into being…but the story goes back a little further.
Proceeding this discovery, research was being conducted all over the world to produce sugar from starch in an efficient way. The major hurdle was that starch was branching half way—like branches of a tree. Researchers knew that if an enzyme that was capable of cutting the branches efficiently could be found, it would be possible to produce diverse sugars with a high degree of purity. During the same time, Hayashibara Co., Ltd. (Nagase Viita Co., Ltd. at present) was searching for a microorganism that could produce a branch-cutting enzyme from the mother earth. It was in the spring of 1966, a microorganism that produces this particular enzyme was found under a Japanese persimmon tree in the yard of the company’s research lab in Okayama.
Without the discoveries of these trehalose producing enzymes and branch-cutting enzyme found from the soil in Okayama, it would never have been possible to produce trehalose efficiently.
Not All Trehalose Products Are Created Equal
The Nagase Viita Co., Ltd., which originated the high-purity production process for TREHA®︎, and still manufactures it today, ensures strict quality controls that deliver the high purity trehalose (98%) product. All TREHA®︎ distributed in the U.S. is plant-based, GRAS-designated and non-GMO* and is also certified as Kosher and Halal.
*TREHA®︎ distributed in the U.S. and Canada is a Non-GMO Project verified product.