Nuno Alves, founder of Grand Carob, located at the Business Incubator at the University of Algarve, in Faro, told Lusa: “This could almost be considered to be the ‘Porsche’ of vegetable drinks. It is 100 percent natural and has a much higher concentration of antioxidants than other similar products”.

The product has only recently come to market but it is already available in “several cafes” in the Algarve, in an Algarve chain of ‘gourmet’ supermarkets, in coffee product stores in Lisbon and Porto and “very soon” it will be introduced to some stores in two national supermarket chains, he said.

Currently, Grand Carob has the capacity to produce 5,000 bottles of 200 millilitres per day, each with a cost to the customer of €1.39.

When Nuno first came up with the idea of the drink it was in relation to diversifying the economy of the Algarve which has traditionally been heavily reliant upon tourism.

With no training in the food field, he started his research and was “amazed” when he discovered the “many functional benefits” of the carob, discovering that it is “very nutritionally rich” and “naturally sweet and rich in antioxidants”.

“It is considered a superfood, rich in antioxidants and can serve as a basis for creating innovative products”, he said, adding that the company seeks to develop new products “with carob as the base”.