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Juice Up


Juice Up

July 1997 -- Cover Story

By: Lauren Curtis
Contributing Editor

  A number of factors, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Nutrition Labeling Education Act of 1990 (NLEA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid have increased the public's nutritional awareness. This knowledge, coupled with the consumer's desire for a healthier lifestyle, has greatly impacted the evolution of juice and juice-based drinks over the last few years.

  It's common knowledge that pure juices derived from fruits and vegetables are healthful, but beverage processors have started adding additional nutrients to pack juices with an even healthier punch. A quick look at the nutritional panels found on some juices today shows 100% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for between six and 12 "essential" vitamins, and, in some cases, up to 200% of the RDI for vitamin C.

  The quest for novelty also influences the design of these products. Years ago, the juice menu consisted of orange, Concord grape and apple. Occasionally, grapefruit and pineapple were available, and at the time, seemed quite exotic. Now, virtually an infinite variety of juices and juice combinations exists on grocery and convenience-store shelves as well as at juice bars, which are springing up nationwide. New flavor combinations, as well as added ingredients, have helped boost juice's appeal.

Freshly squeezed

  Proof of the apple's longevity is found in the Bible, but who first produced juice from the fruit: Adam or Eve? We do know that U.S. commercial juice production began in the late 1800s when a pasteurizing method for bottled grape juice was developed. Little growth occurred in the industry until development of flash pasteurization and frozen concentrates in the 1940s and 1950s. During this time, juices -- particularly orange juice -- became recognized as sources of vitamin C, and their popularity rose. Florida eclipsed California as the nation's leading orange-juice supplier.

  While oranges and apples lead the league in terms of volume of fruit processed into juice, it's the other fruits that add character to the category. In addition, developments in aseptic processing, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and aseptically filled juice boxes have brought new dimension and markets to the juice industry.

  Juice is the liquid extracted from the cells of mature fruit. The definition of a mature fruit varies with each type. Typically, sugar and organic acid levels -- and their ratio -- indicate maturity stage. The extracted liquid is composed of water; soluble solids (sugars and organic acids); aroma and flavor compounds; vitamins and minerals; pectic substances; pigments; and, to a very small degree, proteins and fats.

  The various sugars -- such as fructose, glucose and sucrose -- combined with a large number of organic acids (the top three being citric, malic and tartaric), help give the fruit its characteristic sweetness and tartness. Add the many flavor and aroma compounds, and a unique fruit flavor results. To complicate matters, just switch around a few of the sugars, acids or flavor compounds, and the outcome is a different variety of the same fruit. Depending on your point of view, this can be either a windfall or a headache.

More than pressing

  Juice production requires more than simply pressing the fruit and collecting the juice. After harvest, the fruit is transported to the production facility. Once the fruit is received, it is sorted, graded and washed. Fruit, especially citrus fruit, must be accurately sized to maximize juice yield by the mechanical extractors. Immature or damaged fruit isn't used for juice production. Immature fruit often is bitter; damaged fruit could contaminate the juice with bacteria and mold or other deleterious compounds.

  Juice is extracted from fruit by mechanical means. The extraction process uses various types of presses, either batch or continuous, depending on the type of fruit being processed. Pretreating the fruit increases juice yield. Thick-skinned citrus fruits are cut in halves or quarters prior to pressing; apples and other pomes are ground; and grapes and berries are crushed. Various other pretreatments might include heat and adding enzymes.

  Enzymes, particularly in the case of apple-juice production, include cellulase and pectinase. Cellulase degrades the cell walls, whereas pectinase breaks down the pectic substances found within, and between, the cell walls. The pectins are found between the cellulose and hemicellulose of the cell wall and also in between the cells, acting as the glue that holds them together.

  "The main polysaccharide is definitely pectin; it is like a sponge and holds juice in the structure, therefore you must break down the pectin," says Maria Ware, technical service manager, Quest International, Hoffman Estates, IL.

  Pectinase also decreases juice viscosity. During mechanical processing, juice thickens due to the pectin content, similar to the thickening that occurs when making jam. Once the juice has been depectinized, it's much easier to pump and concentrate. Use of pectinase and cellulase enzymes allows for increased juice yields, which isn't possible by simply pressing.

  While certain added enzymes increase and enhance juice production, naturally occurring enzymes, such as pectinesterase and invertase, must be inactivated by heat. If these enzymes remain active, juice quality will deteriorate. On occasion though, the naturally occurring pectinesterase can be used to further process clarified juices. Destruction of the pectin will cause the cloud to destabilize, resulting in complete clarification.

  Enzymes also are used to clarify juice and produce byproducts, such as pulp wash and citrus oils. Fruit juice can be classified either as cloudy or clarified. Cloudy juices -- often perceived as "natural" -- contain various compounds contributing to the haze. With clarified juices, these compounds are removed by biochemical (enzymes), chemical (binding agents) or physical (centrifugation and filtration) means. Fruit type, age and order of application will govern the type and order of the process or processes.

  Compounds creating the haze include polysaccharides, proteins, polyphenols, pulp and polyvalent cations. The polysaccharides consist of pectin, starch and gums. The polyphenols are primarily pigments and astringency compounds, such as anthocyanins and tannins. The polyvalent cations -- such as iron, copper, aluminum and calcium -- form insoluble complexes with proteins, pectins and polyphenols, and should be removed to produce a more stable product. For the ready-to-drink (RTD) market, certain juices, such as orange and grapefruit, are expected to be cloudy. Others, such as grape and apple, are expected to be clear.

  Unless the juice is to be bottled and sold as RTD-not-from-concentrate, or fresh-squeezed juice, it's probably concentrated. Benefits are two-fold. Concentration curtails microbial and enzymatic degradation due to either heat treatment, low water activity or low storage temperatures. It reduces storage and transportation costs, because the juice can be reconstituted at the manufacturing site at the time of finished-beverage production.

  Typically, orange juice is reduced to a 65°Brix concentrate, whereas lemon is concentrated down to a 40°Brix. Processors can then freeze, can or aseptically pack the concentrate. During the evaporation process, volatile aroma compounds are evaporated off with the water. These compounds are recovered, and used to add topnotes to the concentrate or the reconstituted juice.

  Due to their structure, certain fruits -- such as apricots, passion fruit and papaya -- are inherently difficult to juice. These fruits are processed into fruit pulps or purees. Sieving separates the edible portion from the skin, seeds and other fibrous matter. Guavas, also difficult to juice, are typically ground whole to produce the puree, which is passed through a fine screen to remove the stone cells. Either way, the resultant semiliquid can be concentrated, and then frozen or canned, ready to be used for beverage production at a later date.

  A valuable citrus-industry byproduct is the essential oil. One ton of fruit yields about 8 lbs. of oil. Pressing releases oil from the outermost portion of the peel, or "flavedo." As the fruit is crushed, juice flows in one direction down a tube, which has pierced the bottom of the fruit, while the oil is forced into another receptacle. The oil is typically mixed with water, due to the extraction method, forming an emulsion. Centrifugation breaks the emulsion; then the oil is clarified and separated from the waxy portion, resulting in cold-pressed oil. Another type of oil is essence oil, which is recovered during the juice-concentration process. Either oil may be added back to the juice concentrate to restore its original flavor.

  Folded oils are oils which have terpenes removed. This process concentrates the remaining compounds. However, because of the loss of the terpenes and other flavor chemicals, a single strength oil and a folded oil -- even if used proportionately -- are not interchangeable. Surplus oils also are sold to the flavor and fragrance industry.

Anatomy of a juice

  Fruit juice sweetness derives primarily from the disaccharide, sucrose, and the monosaccharides, fructose and glucose. The amount and ratio of each saccharide will vary, depending on the fruit variety. In citrus fruit, the ratio is typically 2:1:1 (sucrose:fructose:glucose); in apples, this ratio ranges from 1:2:1 to 1:3:1. Some fruit juices also contain sorbitol and xylose, but to a lesser degree than the other sugars.

  The organic acids create the tartness of a juice. The most common fruit acids are citric, malic and tartaric, but fumaric, succinic and benzoic, and many others may also be found. The total amount of sugar and acids, as well as the ratio of each, changes over the life of the fruit, both while on the plant and in storage. These ratios are reflected in the juice obtained from that particular fruit. In processing, juice can be corrected for either sugar or acid to conform to the standard of identity for that particular juice.

  Fruit-juice flavor comes from a number of volatile substances in the oil and aqueous phases. Compounds found in the volatiles include: esters, acids, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, lactones, and hydrocarbons, and various other miscellaneous organic compounds.

A juice by any other name ...

  Fruit juices, drinks, beverages and nectars all contain fruit material, and use of these names is regulated by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the NLEA. Since NLEA implementation, producers of beverages containing juice must declare the juice percentage on the information label above the nutrition panel. To bear the term "fruit juice," the product must consist of 100% juice, from either a single juice or a juice blend. Beverages with less than 100% juice can be labeled as either a beverage, a drink, a cocktail, or some other fanciful name.

  Prior to NLEA implementation, discerning the actual juice content of a beverage was difficult for the consumer. Many products implied that they contained juice. Now a quick glance at the label answers the question. Most juices in the New Age category contain 5% to 10% juice, while many juice drinks found in health-food stores contain more than 80% juice, with other ingredients being herbals, flavors and sweeteners. Lemons typically are made into lemonade, which contains a minimum of 10% to 15% juice ( higher levels would be unpalatable). Orangeades and grapeades are fanciful names which should have orange or grape as the primary fruit, but no legal requirement exists governing use of the term "ade" on a label. Any fruit-flavored beverage may depict fruit on the label, but it also must contain the word "flavored" in the title, so as not to mislead the consumer.

  A nectar contains either fruit juice or fruit pulp, combined with water and a sweetener -- either sugar or honey. If necessary, citric or malic acid may be added, in accordance with good manufacturing practices. Acidic, strongly or weakly flavored juices are often made into nectars. Nectars are generally thicker than juice, and possess more mouthfeel. Nectars range from approximately 25% to 60% juice. Since most juice beverages have added water, sugar and acid, "nectar" is gaining popularity as a fanciful name.

Measuring up

  Calculations of juice percentage are based on a juice's soluble-solids content. The unit of measure is °Brix. Using a refractometer at 20°C and a sugar table, the product developer can measure the °Brix of a juice or concentrate, and then calculate the amount required to achieve the specified juice percentage. Sugar tables express the percentage, by weight, of sugar in a pure-sucrose solution. For ease of calculation, fruit-juice solids are assumed to be composed entirely of sucrose, even though they actually include a combination of all dissolved sugars, salts and acids.

  A juice's identity is intrinsically linked to its °Brix. Every country sets a specific °Brix for each fruit juice. The different varietals and growing conditions probably account for the differences. Juice standards differ between the United States and Europe, which follows standards set forth by the Association of Industry of Juices and Nectars from Fruits and Vegetables of the European Economic Community. Each single-strength fruit juice, either direct juice or from concentrate, possesses a minimum °Brix. For instance, apple juice in the United States has a Brix of exactly 11.5°. In Europe, the Brix is 10° for direct juice and 11.2° for juice from concentrate. So, although a manufacturer may use the same volume of juice, the actual percentage of juice will differ depending upon the exact standards in effect in the country of origin. This can mean the difference between being in compliance with regulations or not. It also might affect production costs. If a larger-than-necessary juice amount is added, profits decline.

  Titratable acidity is a measure of all the dissociated and undissociated hydrogen ions. It typically measures the amount of acid found in the juice as citric acid. However, certain juices, such as apple juice, base their titratable acidity on malic acid.

  The other measure associated with acidity is pH. This measures only the dissociated hydrogen ions. The pH has a major impact on a product's microbiological stability. Typically, juices require a pH of about 3.0, coupled with heat preservation, to achieve an extended shelf life without refrigeration.

Squeeze out more life

  Juice requires either heat-treatment or chemical preservation. Raw juice has an extremely short shelf life, and the likelihood of introducing pathogens multiplies if the production area and equipment aren't kept clean. In addition, juice can take on an unappealing brown color in a short time if certain enzymes are not inactivated. Pasteurization, either in the form of HTST, UHT, aseptic filling or in-pack pasteurization, are the methods of choice.

  Utilizing the highest temperature for the shortest period of time often provides the best result for juice and its volatile compounds; this increases nutrient and flavor retention. Aseptically processed juice is subjected to high heat, and placed in sterile containers -- either aseptically filled juice boxes or bag-in-box containers -- and hermetically sealed. In-pack pasteurization requires that the package be cold-filled and subjected to a lower temperature for an extended period of time.

  Single-strength and concentrated juices and nectars -- intended for direct consumption -- can be preserved solely by physical means, such as pasteurization, according to the Codex Alimentarius, a publication issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Health Organization. The codex allows concentrated juice for use in manufacturing to contain chemical preservatives, such as sulfur dioxide or sodium benzoate. The allowable levels are strictly regulated by each country, as the end use of the concentrate will ultimately be a finished beverage. Therefore, levels of preservatives in the concentrate need to be considered when calculating the final preservative level.

  Other preservatives enjoying a better reputation -- due to their "naturalness" -- are ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and alpha tocopherol (vitamin E). Both function as antioxidants in emulsions, essential oils and the finished product. Natural juice and juice products are typically preserved by physical means since chemical preservatives aren't natural ingredients. If large words or "chemical" names on the label aren't a concern, such preservatives as sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, EDTA, BHA or BHT can be used.

  Juice can be found in every type of packaging. In the early days, cans and glass bottles were the only available types of packaging. Today, the assortment includes PET bottles, sports bottles and aseptic brik packs. Introduced to reduce shipping weight or to allow small children to pour their own juice, PET bottles provide another benefit: shatter-resistant properties. Juices found in the refrigerator case typically come packed in gable-top cartons. The newest innovation in cartons is the reclosable plastic cap. Some single-serving juice drinks come in sports-top PET bottles. Some companies concentrate on proprietary packaging, with easy grips or unusual eye-catching shapes.

Move over, Mother Nature

  When formulating a juice-based beverage, food product designers enjoy a lot more leeway than Mother Nature. Whereas nature uses only fructose, glucose and sucrose to sweeten products; corn syrup, dextrose, honey and artificial sweeteners number among the designer's choices. Many companies now sweeten with pure fruit juice -- thus boosting their juice claim -- utilizing bland juices, such as apple, grape and pear, for this purpose.

  Most often, companies use citric acid to acidify beverages, especially citrus-based ones. If the predominate juice is apple or grape, malic or tartaric acid might be considered. Blending fruit acids can achieve flavor nuances. Each acid contributes a different attribute to a beverage's final acidity. Citric leads with a burst of tartness, while malic is smoother, and fumaric is stronger and lasts longer. This technique is most useful when blending more than one fruit juice. Remember: More than one acid is typically found in a fruit.

  Many juice beverages derive their color from the juice. Adding colors can create a different hue. Natural colors include carotenoids, chlorophyll, cochineal, beetroot, annatto and anthocyanins. Heat treatment, pH and packaging must be considered when designing the color of the product. Artificial colors can help achieve just about any color in the rainbow. Once believed to be unappealing to the consumer, the color blue recently gained popularity, especially in the kids sector. This shading wouldn't be achievable without artificial colors. Currently, a natural blue color seems as unattainable as the Holy Grail. Blue-green algae is being considered experimentally as a natural blue coloring agent. This ingredient creates an initial beautiful color. However, changes in pH and aging take quite a toll on the product, leaving it looking dull and lifeless.

  Often perceived as signaling naturalness, cloudiness can be achieved naturally by using turbid juices. These products often separate, and many of the constituents contributing to the cloud settle to the container bottom. To minimize this, use of an emulsion in conjunction with clarified juice offers a common remedy. Beverage emulsions, like any other emulsion, consist of the dispersion of an oil in an aqueous phase, resulting in a cloudy liquid. Emulsions are typically stabilized by pure gums, such as gum acacia or gum blends. Addition of a small amount of an emulsion to the finished beverage produces a haze similar to unclarified juice. Oil-soluble colorants, such as beta carotene, and additional flavors in the form of citrus oils, can be added to the emulsion, making for easy dispersion in the finished beverage.

A New Age

  Since the advent of the New Age beverage, simplicity has taken a back seat. Gone are the unpretentious orange- or apple-flavored beverages. A new day has arrived, bringing with it interesting and intricate flavor blends. Once there was apple, now there's apple-cranberry-tangerine. Where orange once dominated the refrigerator aisle, we now find orange-strawberry-banana and other contenders. Even citrus punch is finding its way to the breakfast table.

  "Citrus punches are often more refreshing and less costly than 100% orange juice, and the consumer is willing to accept less juice," says Luise Kress, manager, fruit drinks, at Indianapolis-based Universal Flavors. Various flavors exist, such as juicy California-type orange and a tangerine-like Florida version.

  Tropical fruits and flavors dominate the market, yet some consumers are still hesitant to try unknown exotic flavors like cherimoya, guanabana and carambola. Companies have found the best way to introduce exotics is in combination with familiar flavors.

  "A flavor combination which began in the New Age, 5%-to-10%-juice category, and has spread to other beverage categories as well as to other products, is kiwi-strawberry," Kress says, stating that it was a small company that took the risk and won. "Smaller companies are leading the way. They are more willing to try exotic flavors, even though the larger companies have a larger staff and budget, and can afford to search out the trends.

  "The large companies tend to introduce prototypes that are pretty well-tested. They are always interested in the next flavor trend, but usually are not the first to debut it. As a flavor supplier, we always show customers something very creative and also something basic ... with a twist."

  As with most trends, juice trends start on the coast and work their way inland. Juice bars enjoy popularity in California and New York. Dairy-based smoothies -- combinations of several freshly squeezed juices from fruits and vegetables -- are mixed with herbs, oat bran and wheat grass to produce healthful, refreshing shakes.

  Bruce Roberts, manager of beverage business development, McCormick Flavors, Hunt Valley, MD, says his company has developed "an enhanced product to mimic juice smoothies." Their product, "Slush Mush®," is a combination of "10% dairy product, vitamins and minerals, and a higher level of juice." (In this case, the juice level is higher than the typical 5% to 10% found in the New Age category.) "The addition of the dairy ingredients is seen as a benefit, enhancing juice-based products with calcium and protein."

  So, what is next on the juice horizon? Roberts believes the future will feature more "evolution than revolution." "It all goes back to the basics of distribution. Major soda producers will be looking to find low-juice products that can easily go through normal bottling lines and make the franchisers happy." He also sees "development in exotic North American fruits and berries, which you don't normally see in the grocery store, like gooseberry, cloudberry, plum and rhubarb."

Tropical treats

  While Roberts says Americans will return to exotic North American fruits, Jeff Moats, chief executive officer, The Amazon Fruit Company, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is betting on even more exotic tropicals from the Amazon basin. Fruits such as maracuja, goiaba, acerola, acai, arace-boi, cupacu and camu camu will constitute the new array of flavors, Moats says. Maracuja and goiaba -- also known as passion fruit and guava, respectively -- are most familiar to U.S. consumers. But the others are brand-new, at least for Americans. The Brazilians drink most of these fruits by blending the flesh with lots of sugar and water, straining out any seeds not pulverized by the blender.

  The exception is the cranberry-sized acai, grown on the palm frond. Brazilian street vendors soak and boil it in aluminum bowls. The resultant purple beverage is rich in iron, with no added sugar. Drunk straight, from plastic bags, it's definitely an acquired taste. Athletes, especially soccer players, drink this beverage like Americans drink isotonic beverages.

  Most of the other fruits feature flavors more adaptable to the American palate. Aside from passion fruit and guava, the acerola and araca-boi constitute the front-runners. The acerola is a small, bright-red, cherry-like fruit high in vitamin C. Difficult to describe, the araca-boi's flavor is most definitely tropical.

  "(You) can't benchmark it against anything you've ever tasted," Moats says. "It grows on a bush and is the size of a large lemon, with a thick pithy skin and pulp similar to passion fruit, with lots of little seeds. It is extremely aromatic. The oil is very aromatic, more so than the pulp." Cupacu is becoming popular, having made its debut in several New Age beverages. Camu camu is the fruit of a tree that grows on the banks of the Amazon, and thus spends about half the year with its trunk and roots under water. The fruit contains about 50 times the amount of vitamin C as the same size serving of an orange -- a promising nutrient-rich resource.

  Until camu camu becomes mainstream, Americans will have to settle for citrus, kiwi and strawberries as their main sources of vitamin C. Mangos and apricots are good sources of vitamin A, while passion fruit, kiwi, lychees, melons, bananas and apricots are rich in potassium.

  Dietary fiber consists of insoluble fiber, like cellulose, and soluble fiber, like pectin. Fruits also provide good sources of fiber; unfortunately, this is not true of the juice, since most cellulose and pectin is removed during juice production. The USDA recommends consumption of between 17 and 28 grams of fiber daily. Most juice provides less than 1 gram of dietary fiber per serving. Prune juice and tomato juice represent the exception. Both claim about 2 grams per 8 oz. serving. Juice beverages of the future could benefit from added fiber.

  Until recently, most vegetable-juice products have been tomato-based combinations. To enhance the flavor and the nutritional value, vegetables such as beets, parsley, watercress, spinach, celery, romaine lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower and carrots were added to the tomato. Line extensions included low-sodium, spicy or picante, and light versions. Carrot juice was once consumed straight by the gallon by what were once considered to be "health fanatics." It's now becoming mainstream and the basis for many fruit and vegetable beverages.

  Like the red of tomato, orange carrots dictate a drink's color. Blends of orange, mango, pineapple, and other hearty flavors that can hold their own against the carrot's sweet and earthy flavor, will prove popular. Apple or white-grape juice can be added for sweetness, enabling the product to be labeled as "all-natural" or "100% juice."

Vitamin vehicle

  Juices and juice beverages have become the perfect vehicle for vitamin fortification. Vitamin C possesses a long history in juice fortification. In keeping with the recent health craze and quest for longevity and youthfulness, manufacturers add many other nutrients to juice beverages. Depending on the marketing slant, ingredients might include vitamins, minerals, herbs and phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, terpenes and phenolic acids. While FDA forbids label claims, many small companies are pushing the limit by quoting on labels historical data concerning their added ingredients, without stating a drink's supposed benefits.

  Consumed by young and old alike, juice drinks provide natural vitamins as well as any additional nutrients the processor cares to add. Both 100% juices, which already have the reputation of being healthful, and juice drinks, are being fortified. Current fortification trends have gone beyond vitamin C and now include antioxidant blends, which contain vitamins A, C and E, as well as beta carotene. Orange and mango already naturally contain beta carotene. "While vitamin A is not strictly an antioxidant, fortifying a beta carotene-containing juice with A, C and E, allows the juice to be legitimately claimed as a source of antioxidants," says Herb Woolf, Ph.D., technical service manager, BASF Corporation, Parsippany, NJ.

  Calcium is another nutrient which is often added to beverages. Amounts ranging from 10% to 30% of the RDI can be added, without the benefit of special technology. Vitamin C may, or may not, be added to the calcium-fortified drink.

  Vitamin fortification is not technically easy. Oxygen, heat, light and pH all present different challenges to different vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can be difficult to keep in solution.

  "They have a tendency to produce a cloudy effect," Woolf says, "depending on the amount, and the other constituents, they could ring out. Depending on what flavor is added, the vitamins may interact with the particulates of dispersed oil droplets, and may coalesce.

  On the whole, vitamin E is one of the most stable vitamins. Oxygen and heat have very little detrimental effect on the stability over the long-term. It typically has a 90% retention rate."

  In contrast, vitamin A has only a 60% retention rate after heat-processing. The B vitamins are fairly stable, with a retention rate ranging from 75% to 95%. Folic acid is less stable, retaining only about 50% after heat-processing. This is worth noting, as folic acid has been in the news recently regarding its role in preventing neural-tube defects in infants. Other vitamins with special process or package needs include riboflavin, which is extremely light-sensitive, and vitamin C, which is extremely oxygen-sensitive.

  Another concern when fortifying with vitamins is the possible toxicity of fat-soluble vitamins at high levels. These vitamins become absorbed and stored in the body, whereas the water-soluble vitamins are excreted when an adequate amount has been absorbed. The RDI for vitamin A is 5,000 IU, and some studies claim it might be toxic at levels exceeding 15,000 IU. "More and more companies are going with beta carotene, because the provitamin form has no upper limit," Woolf says. "Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, which will only convert what it needs. The remaining beta carotene is utilized as a free radical scavenger."

  A beverage's color requirements may limit the use of beta carotene, as it adds a distinctive yellow-orange color. One way around this dilemma is to analyze the juice for naturally occurring beta carotene, determine its potential as vitamin A, and then fortify with enough vitamin A to reach the label claim. The product then can be labeled as containing vitamin A, with the source as vitamin A and beta carotene.

  In the case of vitamin E, "the RDI is 30 IU and we, as Americans, are not consuming anywhere near that," Woolf says. Vitamin E is naturally occurring in oils derived from legumes and seeds. Virtually none is found in citrus oils, so little chance exists of finding it occurring naturally in juice. Without a concerted effort to include vitamin E in the diet, many Americans may not be getting the RDI. Recent health studies which cite vitamin E as helping prevent the onset of chronic disease and the effects of aging, have studied daily intakes ranging anywhere from 200 mg to 800 mg. While no adverse effects were observed at these levels, sweeping conclusions cannot be drawn nor will the RDI be revised until further research occurs.

The root of it all

  Ginseng, guarana and yohimbe are among the herbs which can be found in many New Age concoctions. Ginseng root (aka Panax ginseng) from China, Korea and Japan, is thought to be the most potent of the ginsengs. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) has properties similar to Chinese ginseng. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococus senticosus) is a different plant, and does not contain the same levels of active compounds, known as ginsenosides.

  The ginseng root contains many different compounds, each reportedly responsible for a different health benefit. The most useful claim for modern society is that ginseng is thought to help the body adapt to stressful situations, although it probably boasts a longer history as an aphrodisiac. Ginseng quality depends on growing conditions, the world region where it's grown, and age at harvesting. Connoisseurs prize old roots which have grown in the wild over all others.

  The stimulant guarana -- a substance derived from the seed of the climbing bush, Paullinia cupana -contains guaranine (which some claim is identical to caffeine), as well as theobromine and theophylline. It also contains tannins, which are responsible for the astringency associated with guarana. For centuries, Brazil's indigenous population has used guarana as a food and a medicine, grinding it to produce a paste which, when dried, could be grated into water to produce a refreshing drink. Aside from its stimulating effects, guarana also is considered an aphrodisiac, and used to curb appetite and relieve symptoms of an irritated gastrointestinal tract.

  Yohimbe is an alkaloid derived from the bark of Pausinystalia yohimba, an evergreen tree from western Africa. A central-nervous-system stimulant, it's thought to provide the body with power, strength and endurance; it's also believed to possess aphrodisiac qualities.

  Other nutrients which may be seen in juices in the future, according to Woolf, are amino acids, nucleic acids, bioflavonoids, other carotenoids and more herbal extracts. Arginine and carnitine already can be found in beverages on the market. Chromium, the mineral which is purported to reduce the appetite, also is gaining popularity in beverages.

  "Beverages will be less sweet because of alternate energy forms," Woolf says. "The amount of carbohydrates will remain the same, but the source will include less fermentable carbohydrates for sustained energy release."

  Calcium continues to be an important nutritional issue. "We always need to be concerned with calcium. There is a misconception that it is only important in the post-menopausal stage. We must think about mineralization of the bones until we get to that point."

  Woolf also cautions that "it is critical that beverages still have the capacity of hydration, and don't cause a net depletion of water. The levels of caffeine will be gradually reduced."

Flavoring challenges

  Now that juices and juice drinks have been packed full of vitamins, minerals and herbs, how do they taste? "Flavoring fortified drinks can be a challenge," says Sid Heller, national sales manager, Virginia Dare Extract Company, a New York-based flavor house. "Clearly, any of the more aromatic flavors, like peach and mango, as well as some of the strong citrus flavors, are required to disguise the flavor of added vitamins. Even with the addition of flavor modifiers, some of the more subtle flavors are incapable of covering the strong vitamin flavor." Other flavors capable of helping cover the flavors of some herbs and vitamins are: licorice root, coriander seed, ginger and mint. Rosemary and sage, natural antioxidants and strong flavors might assume a dual role in the future as active ingredients and flavoring agents.

  Delicately flavored herbs, such as chamomile, lemon grass, rose hips and hibiscus, are now being added to juice drinks, resulting in a pleasant, fruity beverage. While they may not be able to cover the flavor of vitamins such as thiamine, which is quite medicinal, lightly flavored herbs certainly complement the virtually tasteless vitamins C and E.

  Brewed teas and fruit are assuming a more mainstream posture. Lemon, peach, raspberry and passion fruit teas can be found. While the percentage of fruit is low (in the neighborhood of 2%), there's room for this category to grow. Florals might be seen increasingly in the future. Interesting new flavor combinations, such as violet blackberry and strawberry rose, may soon find a home on the grocery shelf. Vanilla, a flavor not usually associated with fruit, is popping up in combination with other flavors.

  Armed with a multitude of flavors, food scientists appear poised to offer as many types and combinations of juice drinks as can be created, limited only by what the consumer palate will welcome.

  Lauren Curtis has received a bachelor's degree in nutrition and a master's degree in food science. In addition to her knowledge of still and carbonated beverages, she also is an expert in frozen entrees and desserts.

FDA to Issue Fresh-Juice Rules

  Fruit juices represent many people's favorite beverages -- think tall, chilled glasses of sparkling grape or apple juice on the rocks on a summer day.

  Formerly, whether manufacturers pasteurized the juice might not have been a big consumer concern. That is, until last fall, when E. coli 0157:H7 in unpasteurized apple juice killed a Denver child and prompted 66 reported cases of illness, mainly in the western and southwestern United States.

  In response to this outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) requirements for fresh-juice production are scheduled for summer publication in the Federal Register. Originally set to appear in March, the ruling has been delayed, partially due to the many comments submitted following a December 1996 public meeting.

  The guidelines will lay out HACCP-like specifications for manufacturers of fresh -- that is, unpasteurized -- juices, not pasteurized varieties. While apple-juice products were the culprits in the outbreak triggering the rulings, FDA regulations will cover all fresh-juice production systems. Aberrant strains of E. coli can survive in more acidic environments than the generally recognized lower limit of pH 4.4, according to the United Kingdom-based Institute of Food Science & Technology. Orange juice's pH is approximately 4.0; apple juice ranges from pH 3.2 to 4.4.

  Odwalla, Inc., the California-based apple-juice manufacturer to which last fall's outbreak was traced, now flash-pasteurizes all their apple-juice-containing products, as one aspect of their HACCP program.

  "While flash pasteurization has been used for many years in the dairy industry, we have forged new ground with this application, using it for our apple juice," says Sydney Fisher, communications director at Odwalla.

  The procedure differs somewhat from that used to treat dairy products, because heat kills pathogens more readily in an acidic environment -- like that of fruit juices -- than in the neutral environment of milk.

  During Odwalla's flash-pasteurization procedure, the juice is quickly heated to a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria, and then just as quickly cooled down again. While E. coli is destroyed as a result, the product is not sterile, and still requires refrigeration.

  The company says the procedure minimizes adverse effects on juice taste and nutrient content. Odwalla views this as a worthy alternative to conventional pasteurization, which destroys all pathogenic microorganisms, but might compromise taste and destroy nutrients due to the higher (generally 70°F or above) temperatures reached.

  This is a serious issue for many juice makers. Shortly after last fall's outbreak, one manufacturer said it would rather stop producing apple cider than be forced to cook the juice to safeguard against E. coli.

  FDA hasn't yet determined the source of last fall's contamination -- packing sites and orchards are being investigated as possibilities. And while Odwalla is still researching other ways of offering 100% fresh apple juice with the same degree of confidence as with flash pasteurization, the company will continue using the approach, believing it produces safe products.

- Heidi L. Kreuzer

© 1997 by Weeks Publishing Company

Weeks Publishing Co.

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