Consumers: what they are drinking today and what will they want to drink tomorrow?
In the field of aseptic bottling technology, that aims at not using preservatives, the grade of acidity of the product is the main factor that influences the choice of technology to be used and the global complexity of the process. Generally, the product acidity is defined by the concentration of ionic hydrogen (H+) present in the solution. The grade of acidity of the substance is measured in pH, which is a scale based on the activity of the ionic hydrogen in watery solution.
This is defined as follows:
"The grade of acidity of the product is the main factor that influences the choice of technology"
Generally almost all commercial soft drinks are acid. The entity of the acidity is however, very important since a major part of the bacteria develops better for values of pH near to neutrality, whereas when the pH diminishes their growth notably slows down. For this reason, in the case of aseptic bottling, two general subdivisions were created, that correspond in general to different production technology.
The borderline represented by pH 4.5 has microbiological reasons since under said level of pH bacteria of public health significance do not generate concerns for human health.
It is therefore clear as to how some of the most common drinks are suitable for high acid bottling whereas to bottle other drinks, such as those containing milk, it is necesary to use more complex systems dedicated to low acid products, where the reduction of initial contamination represents a higher factor of criticality.
The segment of fruit-based beverages is rather vast and relatively heterogeneous. It comprises at least three large product families: juices, nectars and juice drinks (with a low fruit contents). The difference lies in the quantity of fruit used: 100% for juices (that do not have any added sugar), at least 25% for nectars (that may have added sugar or other sweeteners), and low content for juice drinks.
The low fruit content in juice drinks varies by product and typically has added sugar or other sweeteners. Juices and nectars have an estimated market volume (for the year 2017) of approximately 38 billion liters per year, and juice drinks add an additional 34 billion liters per year. Among the global juice drink volume, almost 30% is represented solely by 100% juices, but there are interesting growth trends in innovative beverages such as smoothies (fruit based drinks of a certain consistency and smoothness thanks to the presence of puree and fruit paste, often combined with yogurt or milk).
Among the major beverage consumers of fruit based drinks, the ranking reveals Canada (with approximately 55 liters per year procapite), Finland (43 liters), Germany (30 litres) and USA (26 litres). The Asia Pacific market alone represents approximately more than one third of the global market.
Sport drinks are beverages designed to act as a supplement during exercise and comprise a vast array of products that range from the complex nutritional solutions for professionals to the most common isotonic products for occasional consumers. These products are widespread among the large retail distribution chains. There are functional differences in this kind of beverages:
Tea is second only to water as the most widely noncarbonated consumed beverage in the world. Despite competition from soft drinks, tea still continues to have a significant success thanks to a number of factors. In addition to its organoleptic features, there are physical and chemical characteristics that render this legendary beverage still very much in fashion and very interesting for the development of innovative products.
Tea’s theanine content (alkaloide molecule structurally undistinguishable from caffeine) has an antidepressant and bland stimulative effect, that does not interfere with the sleep cycle and in general has no negative health effects. Tea is rich in mineral salts (such as fluorides, zinc, potassium, copper and iron) and so-called growth vitamins (group B1 and B2), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin P and others in minor quantities. Scientific evidence of tea properties has permitted tea to become asserted as a healthy product so much so that a number of producers have added to their range diverse versions, theanine-free, light and with biological raw materials, other than the now widespread green tea.
Tea flavouring allows producers to attain various flavours; the most widespread are cold lemon or peach teas; on a lesser successful scale, flavours such as orange, mandarin, apple and mint. Tea is a very delicate product since the various grades of aromas, the natural substances present in the product or the added active principles may undergo alterations during the industrial production process, which may undermine the intent to differentiate it from the others. This is where the bottling technology comes in and plays a decisive role in preserving the peculiarities of the formulations.
|Ultra clean||Hot fill||Aseptic fillling|
|Initial cost||Minor initial investment||Minor initial investment||Significant initial investment|
Light weight bottles and caps: Lower costs
|Heavy bottles and caps: Higher costs||Lightweight bottles and caps: Lower costs|
|Personalised containers||Personalised Bottles without limitations||Scarse possibility of personalised bottles||Personalised Bottles without any limitations|
|Product Treatment||Minor thermal treatment on the product||A more invasive thermal treatment on the product (especially in the event of an increase in the rate of product recirculation)||Minor thermal treatment on the product|
|Distribution Costs||Significant Storage and distribution costs (when using cold chain product distribution)||Low storage and distribution costs (distribution at ambient room temperature)||Low storage and distribution costs (distribution at ambient room temperature)|
|Running of the line||The line must be run by average skilled operators||The line can be run by operators with basic line experience||The line must be run by highly skilled line operators|
|Shelf life||Up to 60 days for sensitive products in the cold chain||Long shelf life of the product (up to 1 year)||Long shelf life of the product (up to 1 year)|
“The elimination of clean room and the simpification have globally boosted the market of aseptic lines worldwide ”
Glass is a material with a very long history. The manufacturing of glass finds its roots in ancient Egypt, back in the II millennium B.C. Its use as a container for liquids started and expanded rather rapidly around first century A.C. thanks to innovations in blowing techniques carried out by craftsmen in the Roman Empire. Glass has always been used in the past centuries as a container for preservation purposes, for demonstrating and storing food, beverages and items without altering their taste, flavour, aroma, perfume and colour.
Glass is obtained by fusion at a temperature of at least 1200° C in special pit furnaces covered with special heat-resistant materials, of silicate sand with sodium carbonates and calcium. These materials are first transformed into oxides and then through fusion and after cooling, into a viscous liquid. The container is created from this liquid, using two methods: blow-blow and press-blow.
The production of bioriented bottles in PET occurs in two phases:
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