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Fruit juice: Future in carbonated beverages

Monday, 04 April, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
M K Tripathi, Ajay Yadav and N Kotwaliwale
Agro climatic suitability coupled with abundance of natural resource endowment, equips India with a unique comparative edge in the cultivation of variety of horticultural crops. But the slump side is that enormous production and its potentiality is marred by colossal wastage, very low level of processing and non-availability of good post-harvest infrastructure. The post-harvest loss of fresh fruits and vegetables is estimated to be 20-30%.

Currently, most of the perishable fruits are lost during their journey through the agri food chain, microbial spoilage, physiological decay, water loss, mechanical damage, and packaging or due to transportation. The perishable nature of ripened fruits poses serious public health problem through contamination by moulds.

Tropical fruit beverages have become important in recent years due to overall increase in natural fruit juice consumption as an alternative to the traditional caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee, tea or carbonated soft drinks. By incorporating tropical fruits into fruit juice blends, the scientists are able to exploit their exotic flavours without adding artificial flavours. This is especially true with highly aromatic fruits such as guava, papaya, amla and lemon. Enormous fruit production and its potential are marred by colossal wastage, very low level of processing and non-availability of post-harvest infrastructure. Delay in the use of harvested food products takes away their freshness, palatability, appeal and nutritive value. The commercial viability of fruit juices in the preparation of carbonated drinks is practically limited. Carbonation of juices may also improve aroma, taste and nutritive value of the beverages. Juicy fruits like apple, litchi, papaya, lime and orange can be successfully transformed into drinks.

The food industry is now facing increasing pressure to ensure that their companys’ activities are environmentally sensitive, but there is also increased internal pressure to maintain or increase profitability in the face of fierce competition. The food processing industry has special concerns about the health and safety of the consumer. The carbonation process is cheap and safe and apparently does not have any negative effects products (Fairbairn and Law, 1986). Different methods can be used to add carbon dioxide to a product, such as the addition of carbonated water, production of liquid drinkable fruit beverages by a commercial carbonation process, and the addition of metal carbonates. There are particular problems in the manufacture of non-carbonated RTD beverages that are not aseptically packed. These relate to microbial contamination. Products that have no carbon dioxide are particularly vulnerable to contamination by moulds and certain types of bacterial infection. A secondary advantage of introducing carbon dioxide under pressure to sweetened fruit beverages is their expanded shelf-life. Carbonated fruit-based beverage is a new concept which provides nutritional elements of the fruit along with natural pigments and flavour in addition to carbonation effects. Hence an attempt can made to study the mixing of available clarified fruit beverage with soft drink.

Fruits like amla, lemon and pineapple because of high acidity and astringent taste are not palatable for direct consumption. To make them palatable and available throughout the year in the form of beverage, a reliable, controllable and reproducible technology has been developed for production of a low alcoholic naturally carbonated beverage with retention of all the nutrients of the fruit. The fruits contains high concentration of vitamin A (200- 400 IU), ascorbic acid (88.2- 250.8 mg/100g), lycopene (45.3µg/ g FW), total sugars (10- 15.3%), reducing sugars (2.05- 6.08%), acidity (10- 15.3%), pectins (0.62%) and phenols (170- 345 GAE/ g FW). It is rich source of many important minerals such as phosphorus (23-37 mg/100g), calcium (14-30 mg/ 100g) and iron (0.6- 1.4 mg/100g) and dietary fibre (12.72g/100g). The antioxidants like polyphenols and ascorbic acid reduce incidence of degenerative diseases e.g. arthritis, cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction, retard ageing and involved in metabolism of fat. The nutritive value of lemon lies in its high contents of acidity, ascorbic acids minerals, flavonoids and phenolics. Its nutrients, vitamins and flavonoids help to prevent unwanted damage to cell membranes and other structures of the body by neutralising free radicals. The production of blended beverage from above fruits is considered as promising method of utilisation of fruit during seasonal glut and making the fruit available in the form of beverage throughout the year.

There are four primary sectors of the global commercial beverage market: first, hot drinks, such as tea, coffee and hot malt-based products; second, milk drinks, including white drinking milk and flavoured milk products; third, soft drinks, a sector with five main subcategories (bottled water; carbonated soft drinks; dilutables, also known as squash and including powders, cordials and syrups; 100% fruit juice, and nectars with 25–99% juice content; still drinks, including ready-to-drink (RTD) teas, sports drinks and other non-carbonated products with less than 25% fruit juice); fourth, alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine, spirits, cider, sake and flavoured alcoholic beverages, sometimes referred to as pre-mixed spirits.

The trend towards consumption of bottled water and other soft drinks categories has been a major driver in the global beverage market. Fruit juices with 100% juice content and nectars with 25–99% juice have, like other soft drinks, benefited from a consumer shift towards healthier food and drink products. For all soft drinks combined, the top 10 fastest growing countries in the 1998–2003 periods were exclusively from the emerging regions of Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle-East. The fastest-growing overall in the period was Indonesia, up 210% – a figure boosted considerably by rapid growth in bottled water consumption in small and larger pack formats. Again with considerable bottled water growth, Pakistan claimed second place – up 125%. In third and fourth place in the soft drinks growth ranking, Turkey and India both achieved volume growth in excess of 100%. China completed the top five, up 92% between 1998 and 2003.

In carbonated soft drinks it is not surprising that the United States takes the largest volume share globally. With 30% of total carbonated drinks volume, the United States dominates, with Mexico again claiming second position – albeit some way behind, with a 9% global volumes share. As with bottled water, the United States, underlining its maturity, grew at a considerably slower pace than the world’s emerging markets in the 1998–2003 period. The United States, a substantial juice-producing nation, is again in the topspot in the global fruit juice/nectar ranking, with a majority 27% share of global volume consumed in 2003. A major fruit juice processor and consumer, Germany, takes second place with a 9% share. Other important fruit juice/nectar consuming nations are China and Russia. Both countries have embraced fruit juice in a big way in recent years. China notably ranks as a significant market through its large population, but also through a dramatic spread of product availability.

As more Chinese consumers have opted for juice-based drinks as a natural means of obtaining vitamins, a new wave of sophisticated processing equipment has driven product quality and thus consumption within the local market. The key issue faced by the soft drinks industry is the increasingly heated debate over obesity. A growing burden of Type 2 diabetes and increased levels of cancers and cardiovascular ill health have all been linked with the increased ‘fatness’ of many populations. Health issues are already influencing the dynamics of the soft drinks industry, and this influence is likely to become more pronounced as time progresses. Bottled water, fruit-based still drinks and fruit juice/nectars have gained volume on the back of an increased understanding of good health. Functional soft drinks are defined as drinks providing a health benefit beyond their basic nutritional value, by virtue of their physiologically active added components.

Drinks providing a health benefit based on their inherent ingredients, such as mineral water, cranberry juice and green tea, can be said to be naturally functional, unless they are fortified with vitamins or other functional ingredients.

For functional soft drinks, the term ‘health benefit’ is used in its widest possible application and includes benefits such as improved sports performance, increased mental alertness and better skin, which would not normally be considered health benefits in the strictest sense. Functional soft drinks can be broken down into four main sectors: enriched beverages (such as juices and waters with added vitamins and minerals); sports drinks; energy drinks (such as Red Bull); and finally nutraceuticals (those products with targeted ingredients considered to provide specific medical or health benefits). Nutraceuticals embrace a multitude of specific claims ranging from digestive benefits and detoxification through to aphrodisiac, nicotine craving relief, cholesterol lowering and antiageing declarations.

One of the main challenges facing the soft drinks industry is not only the need to deliver optimum volume growth and adapt to changing consumer demands, but also to stimulate demand itself through greater product innovation. Innovation, whether it be in terms of packaging or product formulation, has been widespread in the soft drinks industry over the last few years. There are three main areas of particular nutritional significance for fruit-based carbonated soft drinks. The first area of nutritional significance is that of is energy. Some soft drinks are formulated to deliver a rapidly assimilated energy boost to the consumer. All carbohydrates are important sources of energy but soft drinks generally contain soluble sugars, which are easy to administer. However, because high levels of sugars are often intensely sweet and even sickly, with a cloying sensation in the mouth, energy drinks are formulated around glucose syrup. The second area of nutritional significance is that of the so-called isotonic drinks, which are of equivalent osmolality to body fluids. They promote extremely rapid uptake of body salts and water, and are very important. The third area of nutritional significance is that soft drinks have been widely formulated to low-calorie forms and these are now available for those who wish to enjoy such beverages and yet minimise their calorific intake ducts for sportspeople and others requiring almost instant hydration.

Fruit juice is important in human nutrition far beyond its use as a refreshing source of liquid. Many fruits contain a variety of minor ingredients, particularly vitamins and minerals, as well as carbohydrates, which are the predominant solid component. Although fruit contains small amounts of protein and fat, these are not important ingredients of juices. Nutrients frequently consumed in sub-optimal concentrations by humans are proteins, calcium, iron, vitamin A, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitaminB2) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Some of these nutrients occur in higher concentrations in fruit juices than in other foods. There is experimental evidence that indicates that ascorbic acid of natural origin is apparently superior to that of synthetic origin. Apart from the more obvious benefits of fruit juice, such as being a source of potassium, it contains other substances that have or are claimed to have useful pharmacological activity. For example, limonin and other related limonoid substances present in citrus fruit are believed to have a role in inhibiting certain forms of cancer. Sorbitol, which occurs in many fruit juices, has a laxative effect. Several components with antioxidant activity are found in fruit juices. These include ascorbic acid, tocopherols (vitamin E), beta-carotene and flavonoids. Beta-carotene has antioxidant activity that can quench the singlet oxygen that can induce precancerous cellular changes.

(Tripathi is senior scientist, Yadav is scientist and Kotwaliwale is principal scientist, agro produce processing division, Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal. They can be contacted at tripathimanoj007@gmail.com, ajyadav007@gmail.com, nachiket.kotwaliwale@gmail.com)

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