Squeezing the most from your orange juice

Demand for fruit juice amongst Malaysian consumers shows no signs of slowing down. A Mintel research found that the country is now drinking more than 150 million litres of juice drinks a year, with many consumers preferring them to fizzy drinks. Not surprisingly, orange juice is identified as the most popular variety.

HRS supplied a client with a complete turnkey pasteurisation system

Although three manufacturers account for over half the Malaysian juice market, there is still a large market for smaller brands and niche manufacturers, with many concentrating on fresh and unpasteurised products. Chilled products are particularly popular with premium customers and, like many other manufacturers around the world, Malaysian manufacturers can now use flash pasteurisation to appeal to discerning consumers, while prolonging the life of their products.

With or without pulp, the challenge for manufacturers of fresh orange juice is the speed at which the flavour and quality alters and deteriorates after the orange is squeezed. Like any fruit, oranges are perishable commodities, and need to be pasteurised to stop the product spoiling. If there is to be an acceptable shelf life, the juice has to be pasteurised to destroy microorganisms and stop enzymatic activity.

There are various ways to delay these chemical changes. At HRS Heat Exchangers, thermal treatment, also known as flash pasteurisation, is the preferred technique for making premium quality juice.

Matt Hale, international sales and marketing director at HRS, explained: “Oranges are complex fruits. The flavour and quality are determined by hundreds or compounds, among them limonene, pectin methylesterase (PME), hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). What’s more, the exact composition caries according to the type of orange, climatic conditions and ripeness when picked.”

Chemical changes begin to occur as soon as the juice is squeezed. Some compounds react with oxygen in the air; others are affected by enzymes that are released during squeezing. With oranges containing natural yeasts, squeezing triggers fermentation which results in the multiplication of any bacteria present. Critics of pasteurisation argue that the process destroys the flavour of juice, and alters the nutritional value. However, by minimising the thermal treatment time, HRS’ flash pasteurisation treatment is assisting juice production plants to optimise juice quality and taste.

This article is provided by HRS Heat Exchangers.

Continue reading here. Published in Food & Beverage Asia April/May 2021 issue.