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We have excellent knowledge about food applications.

Now we are growing our business.

Jacobi has a long history of delivering successful solutions across the markets of water treatment, air treatment and gold recovery, among others. Now, there is great opportunity to grow globally in the food market. We met with Roberto Freire, the Global Champion of our expansion in a market where we have a lot to offer.

So Roberto, exciting times ahead. Firstly why do we need a specialist food applications group? And what are the goals for the group?

The food applications are certainly one of the top uses of activated carbon on earth. And Jacobi, historically, has developed its growth through other areas, so it’s time for Jacobi to explore the food applications. Within the food segment, many of the applications fit our company personality. These are applications that need a lot of technical support, and we are very good at that.

Talking about our goals in this application, we are going to offer the best services and products we have. Part of the food segment are commodities, where you, for instance, just take the colour out of huge amounts of sugar. That’s not what we are pursuing; we seek those very challenging applications in niches where we filter specific contaminants from our customer’s process. Here, we can make a huge difference, so that is our main goal for our food team.

Could you give us an example of a niche?

Lets take fish oil. Omega-3 is made from fish oil; many doctors are recommending you take Omega-3. But you must purify it from contaminants. Our carbons perform much better in every test we do and when customers compare our results with our competitors. We want to go deep into this application to know the market of Omega-3. It could also be specific contaminants on sugar, beverages, and above all, applications that demand knowledge of both carbon and resins. You often need both to purify the food, and we are the only company that supplies both.

Roberto Freire, Global Champion of the Jacobi food group.

Why do these applications need a lot of technical support?

Food applications, after pharmaceuticals, are a type of application where you cannot make any mistakes. Then there are many particularities, and very technical people must address the products treated with activated carbon. It’s not easy to take out some specific contaminants from food; you need to know a lot about how the carbon works, how the customer’s plant works and what’s expected from the final product. To succeed, we need to partner with our customers and do tests together, so it’s essential to have technical people with knowledge on our side. Fortunately, we have very experienced people.

How is the global Food Group organised, and who makes up the group?

It consists of Jan van den Dikkenberg who represents the commercial side of EMEA, Christy Cheah of Asia, Gaelle Fiorentino having a global technical responsibility and myself, representing the commercial side of the Americas. I also lead the group. These people are very experienced; they know what they are doing. Then they work with every part of Jacobi they need to create another strong offer.

“The industry has become more and more demanding for better, cleaner, and safer products.

What is your background?

I’m a chemical engineer, scholared in Escola de Engenharia Maua, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. And I have a post-graduate degree in Marketing from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing de Sao Paulo. I have been working with activated carbon for the last 20 years, with purification throughout my career, most of it in the food and pharma industry. And I have been with Jacobi for seven years.

What are the typical uses of activated carbon and ion exchange resins in the food industry?

It’s applied in sweeteners that have glucose, fructose, sucrose, polyose, sorbitose…

 …all the oses

Haha, yes, that’s correct. Then you have the purification and decolorisation of several food ingredients like lactose and whey protein, organic acids, amino acids, edible oils, glycerin, flavor enhancers, gelatin and food pigments.

Also beverages like apple juice, beer, wine, especially red wine, and process water. There are indeed many applications.

Every producer uses water. The water can, of course, be contaminated. For instance, in many cities around the world, the sewage water that is treated and returned to a river, may many times have the presence of hormones and other undesirable contaminants.

“Many times, you need both resins and activated carbon to filter the food product process, and we are the only company that supplies both.

Of course, anything you consume, you want to have as clean as possible.

Yes, that is a big challenge for the Food Group and another thing that Jacobi can benefit from. You see, the industry has become increasingly demanding for better, cleaner, and safer products. Even the equipment that measures quality in the food industries is getting better at measuring smaller and smaller quantities of contaminants, and they need to be removed.

Also, contaminants that were not important ten years ago have importance now. In order to solve that you need special products to offer customers. We have excellent knowledge about this, and we want to share it.

“You cannot make any mistakes with food applications.

What do you think will help us succeed in this market?

The relationship is very important in this business; it has to do with trust and reliability. The salespeople must be well equipped and well trained to trust them and the product. We have an extensive sales network with highly trained distributors who can provide all the technical support that is needed. That is part of Jacobi’s personality; all the products we sell are backed up with technical support. We are used to giving technical support, and the customers we are approaching here demand that.

We wish you the best of luck with the global Food Group Roberto. If you want to know more about the food market and how Jacobi could help, just send an email to and he would be happy to answer any questions.

Sweeteners and their derivatives are one of the most important applications for activated carbon in terms of volume.

Omega-3 is an important food supplement that requires the highest degree of performance from the carbon which is used to treat colour, odour and impurities.

Jacobi Carbons offer the best solution to treat wine while preserving all the desired properties.

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