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FoodTech Report

Volume 9 Issue 2

High-Quality "Juice with Pieces" Beverages Require Delicate Handling and Processing

By Antonio Aldini , senior technologist engineer for JBT FoodTech

In the Middle East and Asia, consumers continue to increase their consumption of ready-to-drink juice beverages that feature small pieces of fruit. These drinks, combining juices together with real fruit bits, provide a refreshing juice beverage with a similar mouthfeel similar to eating whole fruit.

Juice + Pieces

A specialized system from JBT FoodTech addresses the unique needs of processing, filling "juice with fruit pieces" beverages.

In the Middle East, these drinks account for nearly twenty percent of the total non-alcoholic beverage market. In fact, to keep up with increasing demand the leading regional processor of juice with fruit pieces beverages, Saudi Arabia-based Aujan Industries, has increased their production capacity by more than six times over the last eight years. Western beverage manufacturers have also been investing in and introducing their own lines of juice with pieces beverages into these markets. In just five years after its 2005 product launch in China, the Coca-Cola Company’s juice with fruit pieces brand, Minute Maid® Pulpy™, became only their fourteenth billion dollar brand within the Company’s portfolio.

These beverages require delicate handling throughout all phases of processing in order to keep the citrus fruit pieces intact. For over 20 years, JBT FoodTech has continued to partner with market leaders in this rapidly growing beverage segment to develop processing solutions that maintain consistent product quality throughout the manufacturing process.

Employing Academic Research for Real-World Processors

Juice with fruit pieces is a more challenging beverage to make than juice containing small fruit fiber pulp (more popular in North America and Europe) because the delicate citrus fruit pieces need to stay intact through the entire production process. The key to creating a premium juice with fruit pieces is to preserve the fresh color and taste of the liquid while preventing damage to the suspended fruit.

The gentle stirring offered by JBT FoodTech's single-shot process helps fruit bits remain intact (left), unlike the double-shot process which breaks down pieces (right).

JBT FoodTech partnered with the Industrial Engineering Department of the University of Parma (Italy) to analyze how fruit pieces get damaged or degraded while being processed. The findings from this research were applied to the design of systems engineered to minimize fruit damage using gentle pumping and sterilization treatments, limited product recirculation, and optimized mixing/blending stages.

Addressing Manufacturer Needs from Filling to Shipping

When making juice-based drinks with high concentrations of fruit pieces, the dosing, mixing and pasteurization steps are the most important steps as high heat or agitation can damage the product. If the fruit particles are damaged, a beverage manufacturer may need to add more fruit pieces to achieve the expected consistency and mouthfeel thereby incurring additional cost. JBT FoodTech’s juice with fruit pieces solutions address every step where delicate fruit bits may be bruised, jostled or overheated. 

  • Dosing. Before processing can begin, the fruit pieces must be carefully harvested to prevent damage. For citrus sacs collection, JBT FoodTech provides a multi-phase juice sacs production line that removes the citrus peel, splits the fruit into individual segments, removes the fruit membrane, and completely separates the individual sacs.
  • Mixing. A batch system unloads the delicate fruit pieces from aseptic bags; accurately measures the juice concentrate and fruit pieces to combine them at the correct proportion; and gently mixes and reconstitutes the fruit drink.
  • Pasteurization. Next, the drink is pasteurized through JBT FoodTech Dimple Tube Heat Exchangers that incorporate smooth interruptions on the internal surface to gently agitate the product with minimal abrasion and shearing. By using only one pasteurizer in this system, the process consumes less energy and provides more uniform product quality.
  • Filling. To fill retail containers (cans and/or wide-mouth bottles), the XL-Series Unifiller ensures a consistent fill volume with standard deviations as low as 0.02 oz. This means less product loss, reduced spillage, and trouble-free in-container sterilization.
  • Closing. To close juice cans, the JBT FoodTech SeamTec™ seamer is PLC-controlled, frequency-driven and fitted with a highly informative touch screen for simple operation.
  • Cooling. Finally, a spray cooling tunnel transports the beverage containers through a series of cooling showers that reduce discharge temperatures so that workers can box up and ship the product more quickly.

 

Dimple Tube Heat Exchangers gently agitate juice without damaging fruit bits during pasteurization.

 

A series of cooling showers reduces beverage container temperatures for quicker secondary packaging.

 

Consumers will always seek new beverage flavors and varieties to delight their senses. Finding innovative ways to process and package those beverages will give manufacturers an advantage in a highly competitive market. JBT FoodTech will continue employing research, analysis and innovation to develop and refine advanced processing solutions that meet beverage processors needs.

To learn about fruit and juice solutions go to www.jbtfoodtech.com or you can also check out Vol. 5, Issue 3 of FoodTech Report.

 

SeamTec™ is a trademark of JBT Corporation. Minute Maid® Pulpy™ are trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company.

©2012 JBT Corporation. All rights reserved.

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