• 15 Mar
    Toxic metals – getting it straight

    Toxic metals – getting it straight

    The Juice Products Association (JPA) is calling on consumer reports to stop raising unnecessary alarm about levels of heavy metals in fruit juices and other foods and to base its recommendations on transparent, substantiated science.

    In response to the Consumer Reports article, “Arsenic and Lead are in Your Fruit Juice: What You Need to Know,” JPA stated, “The article needlessly and irresponsibly alarms consumers. There is no scientific evidence indicating that the presence of trace levels of heavy metals in juice has caused any negative health outcomes among individuals at any life stage.”

    The article claims that juice “may contain potentially harmful” levels of heavy metals. “Without any scientific basis for that claim, one could remove the word “juice” and insert any one of hundreds or thousands of foods people eat regularly as evidenced in the data published in the Total Diet Study issued by the US Food and Drug Administration,” said Patricia Faison, technical director, Juice Products Association.

    Consumer Reports’ analysis is not transparent. Its article advises consumers to limit juice consumption but does not disclose the actual levels of heavy metals found in the juices they tested. The Juice Products Association has requested the testing data from Consumer Reports for its own analysis and believes that consumers should also have access to the full testing data. Consumer Reports has declined to share this information.

    This media outlet is not a regulatory or scientific body, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The “risk assessment” information from Consumer Reports does not present a scientific assessment of risk to public health and does not appear to have been peer-reviewed, as is customary with scientific research. An assessment of health risk must be based on sound science and according to data recently collected by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Total Diet Study, there is no health risk from heavy metals in juices.

    “It is a fact that substances such as lead, arsenic and cadmium exist throughout the environment, and are absorbed by plants. Trace, harmless levels of these substances may exist in juice, and other foods,” said Ms. Faison. “Juice producers are very interested in reviewing sound science as a way to continuously improve our products and are committed to providing safe, high-quality, nutritious juice that meets or exceeds regulations established by the FDA for food safety. Companies conduct their own routine testing and are being innovative in their sourcing and production methods to further reduce levels. Consumers do not need to be concerned about the safety of juice.”

    Juice producers make safety a priority 365-days-a-year, and believe the concerns cited by Consumer Reports’ intermittent testing of selected products are unfounded. Consumers can be assured that juice is safe. Regardless of where the ingredients are sourced or where the juice is processed, all juice producers are required to manufacture products that comply with FDA regulations.

    The Juice Products Association is the trade association representing the fruit and juice products industry. www.sipsmarter.org.


    By Caroline Calder Features News
  • 16 Jan
    Fruit Juice shots gather pace

    Fruit Juice shots gather pace

    Diversifying could be make a big difference to fruit juice markets if the opportunity to follow the ‘probiotic’ high value shots have anything to go by. Shot-sized health-boosting juices are coming to the market.

    Consumers are increasingly interested in naturally-functional food and drinks. This increase in health consciousness, coupled with busy on-the-go lifestyles, has fueled innovation around smart, nutrient-rich snacking solutions. Tapping into this trend, health-promoting juice shots provide a quick, natural boost of nutrition in small to-go bottles. Though still niche, the share of juice shots in total juice launches in Europe has increased six-fold over the past four years, say Mintel.

    ‘Of all juices described as shots or

    boosters launched between

    October 2015 and September 2017

    in Europe, 39% were launched in Denmark’

    Nordic countries take a leading role in innovation

    Nordic countries, led by Denmark, are taking a prominent role in juice shot launch activity in Europe. Of all juices described as shots/boosters launched between October 2015 and September 2017 in Europe, 39% were launched in Denmark. Germany, Norway and Sweden follow with 13% of launches each. Repeatedly referred to as ‘the healthiest countries in the world’, Nordic countries put a strong focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich and naturally functional diets with brands like ‘Little Miracles’ juice shot series.  While in the UK interesting ‘garage’ brands like Moju drinks are calling the niche ‘performance shots’.

    Ginger dominates the scene in these products, but probiotic-rich ingredients are on the rise.

    Using concentrated doses of fruits, vegetables, plant extracts and herbs, juice shots are designed as a preventive measure to boost consumers’ overall wellbeing, but can also address specific health issues. These include boosting energy levels, supporting the immune system and digestive health, curing hangovers and relieving flu symptoms.

    Often combined with lemon juice, ginger is by far the leading ingredient in juice shot innovation. Dubbed a ‘wonder plant’, ginger has found its way into the diets of health-conscious individuals around the world, as it reportedly helps relieve pain and muscle soreness, lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system. Meanwhile, fermentation is experiencing a revival in the food and drink sector, recognized for turning products into powerhouses of beneficial probiotics and friendly bacteria.  Probiotics are linked with better digestion, improved immunity, and a range of other health benefits, fitting in well with the concept of juice shots. Beyond traditional ‘superfood’ herbs and spices, juice shot brands can profit from embracing fermented, probiotic-rich ingredients.

    Sources: Mintel

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 16 Jan
    IFU working hard for members, with multiple communications channels

    IFU working hard for members, with multiple communications channels

    Looking back at the last 12 months with the IFU, Caroline Whibley spoke to John Collins, Executive Director for the International Fruit & Vegetable Juice Association (IFU)

    CW: What were the aims of the IFU when the organisation was originally set up and how have they changed as time and other factors have come along to challenge the organisation?

    JC: Although officially established as an organisation by European and International fruit juice producers in 1949, the first congress was held in Paris in 1948, where the association is today proudly registered. Ever since then it has been a core activity to hold industry events for the review of economic and technical matters plus an opportunity for those in the industry to network.

    Though I was not around in 1948 it must be certainly easier to maintain a regular international network today than ever before with the advent of the internet, e mail, social media and availability for fast international travel. This is also reflected in the frequency and reach of our events in 2018.  We held 5 roadshows in conjunction with the SGF in Africa, co -hosted with AIJN and SGF the Juice Summit in Antwerp, a Juice Conference in Thailand, a Technical Workshop in Cologne and supported many other events around the world including China, Thailand and Canada.

    Since 1949 we have seen the development of International Organisations and another core activity has been for IFU to represent the International Juice community at their functions. The IFU is for example a registered NGO at the Codex Alimentarius which was formed in 1968 by the FAO and WHO as the organisation to establish international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice which contributes to the safety, quality and fairness of this international food trade. As codex standards are adopted into national legislation and used for international trade is very important for us to monitor developments but also seek members advice to provide sound scientific input. In 2018 IFU monitored the work of 13 committees, attended 6 and followed 21 electronic working groups. This is only possible with the voluntary support, commitment and dedication of our member experts. The IFU really is driven by industry experts for the industry.

    CW: And what about product changes over that period?

    JC: Since 1949 fruit juices have become more widely available and in a variety of formats. We have seen the development of packaging to provide shelf stable bottles and cartons, enabled the development of  short shelf life chilled distribution products, innovative processing techniques such as HTST heat exchangers,  HPP and PEF, the development of exotic fruits processed into juice and the shortening and transparency of global supply chains. All these developments have provided a rich variety of topics to be discussed and reviewed at IFU events and we expect that to continue in the future.

    CW: How has the last 12 months been – what did you set out to do and what do you feel you have succeeded in? What does success look like?

    JC: The IFU has been building upon the core and more strategy in 2018. We held the first Juice Conference in Bangkok on the 28th May and attracted over 140 attendees with c70% from the region. It was a huge success where attendees could listen to expert presentations on the local and international markets, product and processing developments and packaging.  Sponsors could display their products and services in an exhibition area and there was an opportunity to network at 2 evening events.

    In conjunction with the SGF we held 5 roadshows in Africa in Nigeria, South Africa with our member The South African Juice Association, Egypt, Kenya and finally with our member The Algerian Beverage Association in Algeria. In total over 500 enthusiastic participants enjoyed the events.

    Working groups

    Our new Science and Technology Commission chair after seeking the views of members has facilitated the formation of new working groups to develop nutrition and scientific research and produce a series of Best Practice Guidance documents. The first one on fruit washing is available on our new website: www.ifu-fruitjuice.com, in addition the new service provides an opportunity for members to network via our social link facility which also includes an app for smart phones and tablets. Unique for the juice industry.

    The legislation commission monitored the work of 13 committees, attended 6 and followed 21 electronic working groups, a record year for participation and engagement. By providing expertise and in conjunction with other industry organisation the lead level in grape juice was adopted on an ALARA basis and the lead level in tomato puree was revoked.

    The methods of analysis commission have developed and filmed 4 e-learning videos about some of the simple tests carried out in juice operations.

    The micro biological working group has been revising the method for the determination of alicyclobacillus. The group are now putting the finishing touches to the method and it will be available in early 2019.

    New commission

    A new Marketing Commission was established during the year which will guide the association with the development of conferences, workshops and communications.

    Industry awards

    We gave 2 IFU awards this year too: Significant contribution award to Prof Helmut Dietrich, past Chair of the IFU Science and Technology Commission and long-time supporter of the juice industry and IFU. Author of the nutrition policy paper which provides an extensive scientific review on the nutrition benefits of juices. This is available to the public on the IFU website. Plus, an Innovation Award to PepsiCo and Citrosuco for their development of NFC orange and the aseptic bulk supply chain.

    This year we will have 2 new awards:  The Commission Excellence Award. The aim is to provide a way for IFU to praise and recognise commission members that voluntarily give their time and expertise to achieve IFU objectives and support the industry as a whole. Also the new Student Excellence Award. The objective is to provide an annual award to a student that has completed an outstanding thesis or project of interest and application to the juice industry.

    CW: You were founded in 1949 – so 70-year anniversary in 2019 do you have any plans?

    Yes, we do. This year we will hold the Juice Conference in Cancun – Mexico. There will 3 days of celebrations on the 28th, 29th and 30th May. More details to come but it will be an exciting experience.

    CW: What were the best quotes you heard from speakers or members?

    Roadshow and technical workshop quotes:

    “Yet again a very rounded selection of speakers. Always something to take away from the event to share with colleagues”

    “Very good presentations. Many good questions due to the fact that people can ask through the app.”

    “Surprising high attendance, excellent networking”

    “I really enjoyed the varied subjects that were discussed from agriculture, processing of fruits, legislative frameworks, quality analysis, monitoring and management, packaging and marketing.”

    “It was multi-faceted and holistically interesting as the topics spanned from quality and assurances to analysis methodology to machinery and sustainability. The breaks were also well timed, and the availability and quality of the food and refreshments was good.”


    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 18 Nov
    Fighting Food Fraud with SGF International e.V.

    Fighting Food Fraud with SGF International e.V.

    What is Food Fraud?

    According to Spink and Moyer “Food fraud is a collective term used to encompass the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain.”.

    Therefore, it is necessary to differentiate between unintentional and intentional scenarios in food safety management: Unintentional scenarios represented by the “classical” hazards are being controlled via HACCP systems since many years. Intentional scenarios may result from ideological motivations – here we are talking about threats that are managed in Food Defence programs.

    Regulatory Requirements and Food Safety Management Standards

    Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council names in its general objectives beneath the high level of protection of human life, health and the consumers’ interests the safeguarding of fair practices in food trade along the supply chain. Furthermore, the legislators refer to international food safety management standards: where these standards exist or their completion is imminent, they shall be taken into consideration in the development or adaption of food law.

    By this, food safety management standards, especially GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) recognised standards, represent state-of-the-art and useful approaches for food business operators to ease their fulfilment of due diligence. Within the GFSI-framework the FSSC 22000, IFS Food, BRC and SQF constitute the most important ones. All of them rest upon the principles of HACCP, Food Safety Management Requirements and Good Industry Sector Practice Requirements and the most recent GFSI clauses contain the topic “Food Fraud”. Together with HACCP and Food Defence Systems it is necessary for food business operators to establish a VACCP System (Vulnerability Assessment of Critical Control Points) to mitigate and minimise risks from identified food fraud vulnerabilities.

    Food Fraud in the Juice Sector – Literature and SGF/IRMA’s Experience in 2017

    Periodically together with other foodstuffs (e.g. honey and olive oil) fruit juices rank in the top 10 of economically motivated adulteration of food. In 2014 Johnson reported fraudulent activities like water addition, cutting down expensive juices with cheaper ones or addition of sugars.

    As far as the authenticity of semi-finished fruit juice products is concerned, we could find only 2% of the analysed samples from 2017’s audits at SGF/IRMA members being in the atmosphere of food fraud (substitution, addition, tampering, misrepresentation and misleading statements).

    Noteworthy observations in 2017 were especially the addition of foreign fruits, the addition of sugar, the addition of citric acid, the addition of water and detectable contents of sulphur dioxide in organic grape juices / juice concentrates.

    Even if this low percentage sounds like negligible impacts for our sector – being concerned with such fraud could cause serious, especially as consumer organisations and media are very aware of the topic food fraud. Nevertheless, a high-level market transparency in raw material and intermediates production is proven by these results from our control work and demonstrate the high addiction of SGF certified companies to authenticity, quality and safety.

    How to protect yourself against Food Fraud with SGF International e.V.?

    Successful strategies for our industry are necessary to meet these challenges and to avoid scandals and bad news for the fruit juice business. Therefore, a holistic view in raw material procurement is necessary and the VACCP team should be composed of representatives of the departments being involved in all key processes from raw material purchase to the release of the final product.

    Risky raw materials could be described as being expensive, rarely available and analytically insufficient described. A further factor contributing to risky purchases lies in the chemical composition of fruit juices / juice concentrates and their wide variation (geographical and/or harvest-specific characteristics). Nevertheless, putting every fruit juice or every supplier under general suspicion is not only unfair, but also very expensive considering analytical and/or audit costs.

    To reduce quality costs a suitable approach to (self-) protection from food fraud consists in active participation in the Voluntary Control System, as well as making use of the services for members offered by SGF. In the meantime, these added values have been acknowledged by FSSC 22000: “supplier certification (forward and backward) by sector specific control systems which are specialized to prevent or mitigate food fraud can substitute own analytical routine screening. An example is supplier certification via a voluntary certification scheme in the sector of fruit and vegetable juices and purees⁴.” The footnote directly refers to the Voluntary Control System of SGF.

    There is more to active participation in the Voluntary Control System than just a successful audit and unobjectionable analyses of the samples taken during the audit. Following the continuous process suggested by U.S. Pharmacopeia, SGF services may support especially the pre-screening, vulnerability assessment and the development of the preventive control plan:

    • The Pre-Screening describes the process of collecting all purchased raw materials and intermediates and the identification of potential risks. SGF’s Business Reports, bi-monthly News and Early Warnings keep our member companies regularly informed about quality deviations in semi-finished and consumer goods – valuable information to support member companies in possible adjustments of sampling schedules and analytical scopes.
    • In the Vulnerability Assessment the differentiation between controllable and uncontrollable factors is key. Controllable and safeguarded factors are e.g. the supply chain, audit strategies or the susceptibility of quality assurance methods. These factors are supported by SGF Audits along the supply chain from tree to bottle, by SGF’s analyses randomly applied on samples taken during our audits.
    • The Preventive Control Plan is key to get on track at risky raw materials. With the help of risk-oriented and susceptible analytical scopes based on SGF’s experience, possible damages of food fraud are mitigated. Evaluation of analytical results may be supported by the use of SGF’s Database of Authentic Samples and SGF’s Technical Hotline.

    About SGF International e.V. and the Voluntary Control System

    The SGF history is characterised by the fact that already in the 1970s, the sector image was in jeopardy from product adulterations and unfair competition. As a result, the “Schutzgemeinschaft”, an association to protect the fruit juice industry, was then set up as an instrument of industrial self-control in order to restore clean, fair market conditions and connecting quality-conscious players in the global juice industry.

    For more than 40 years now, SGF International e.V. has played an active role when it comes to combatting food fraud, developing effective strategies in order to help the individual member with self-protection measures, protect the branch image and particularly promote fair competition. SGF is therefore the only system in the world to combine independent system and product controls, taking consistent measures to prevent the recurrence of non-conformities, even including court action if necessary.

    The control system that permits the traceability of a juice “from the tree to the bottle” is based on voluntary participants who open the doors of their semi- and finished goods facilities for the SGF auditors and allow samples to be taken of the semi- or finished goods from on-going production and from the warehouse for corresponding testing, together with hygiene audits of the plant facilities.

    The “complete control chain”, from processing the fruit through to the finished product can provide verification of perfect quality within next-to-no time, even if natural changes resulting from origin, growth or variety characteristics cause deviations from normal expectations. At the same time, it is easy to detect, localise and prove illicit product manipulation. Any infringements against the food regulations or against the rules of the system trigger corrective action by the SGF with corresponding follow-up inspections.

    Literature cited

    [1] Spink, J., and Moyer, DC.,2011. Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud. Journal of Food Science, 2011, Volume 75 (Number 9), p. 57-63.).


    [2] Global Food Safety Initiative, 2014. GFSI Position on Mitigating Public Health Risk of Food Fraud


    [3] Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety


    [4] Global Food Safety Initiative, 2017.GFSI Benchmarking Requirements. GFSI Guidance Document Version 7.2


    [5] Moore, J., Spink, J., and Lipkus, M., 2012. Development and Application of a Database of Food Ingredient Fraud and Economically Motivated Adulteration from 1980 to 2010. Journal of Food Science, Volume 77 (Number 4), p. R118-R126.


    [6] Johnson, R., 2014. Food Fraud and “Economically Motivated Adulteration” of Food and Food Ingredients. report, January 10, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276904/: accessed November 9, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.


    [7] SGF International e. V. Sure-Global-Fair (SGF), 2018. Business Report 2017 (https://www.sgf.org/fileadmin/user_upload/public_download/Downloads_english/Business%20Reports/Business_Report_2017.pdf)
    [8] FSSC 22000, 2018. Guidance on Food Fraud Mitigation. Version 1, Number 2171848


    [9] U.S. Pharmacopeia Appendix XVII: Food Fraud Mitigation Guidance



    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 14 Nov
    Juice Summit: fresh ideas on tap

    Juice Summit: fresh ideas on tap

    This year’s Juice Summit in Antwerp was another great success for the organisers, reports Caroline Whibley

    In a packed programme the AIJN, together with its partners the IFU and SGF, produced an outstanding agenda that managed to cover a very wide variety of issues and challenges for the future of the fruit juice industry.

    Challenges it seems are many, perhaps never before has the food & drink industry so much change and uncertainty. Roll back 50 years or so and a marketer’s biggest problem would be how to introduce new brands, how to get people to switch – a tough challenge. Today however we seem to be hopping about all over the place – achieving long term ‘brand loyalty’ with something new is to be dreamed about.

    So much of the talk in the crowd was about steps to reduce sugar, ‘mindful choices’ just one of the many phrases, ‘putting a fresh spin’ on everything and how to deliver ‘novel experiences’ – what happened to producing fruit juice hey!?

    Slavery-free-products were talked about across the fruit juice industry with some surprising facts that needed more time and new non-thermal tech in the processing sector with ultra-rapid processing key to speeding up the fruit-to-product process with new microbiological breakthroughs.

    Speakers and panellists at the Summit went on to share their vision in a number of stimulating sessions over a two-day programme including: Dynamics of the Global Fruit Juice Market, Trends & Challenges for the Agro-Food & Fruit Juice Industry, The Juice Supply Chain – Outlook & Challenges, Tapping into the Mind of the Consumer, and various regional market updates.

    “92% of 18-35 year olds

    are now consuming

    snacks instead of meals”

    What are the global trends and where are the emerging markets? What are the challenges?  Crop disease, disastrous weather patterns, political manoeverings, China, and of course Brexit. If only we had a crystal ball on that one.  I’m hoping, that Brexit becomes like the millennium bug we all worried about and we just move forward in a rational manner and continue doing what we do best with no disasters. But I think I am a glass is half full person . . .

    ‘Snackification’ was a term Welch’s used which stood out for me, referring to a study that stated that 92% of 18-35 year olds are now consuming snacks instead of meals. We have seen a 25% increase in fruit & vegetable snack launches from 2012-16. They also commented that words like ‘healthfulness’ resonated with customers when making their purchasing choices.

    It does seem sort of ironic that the ‘healthfulness’ marketing might be getting through, i.e. consumer thinks they have done something healthy because they have been told the product is healthy for them . . . but are they actually being healthy if they rely on ‘snacking’ for sustenance? I don’t know? Breakfast, lunch and dinner is looking to be on the way out as a timetable for eating and drinking with young people, I’m just wondering what the long term effect will be.

    Tetrapak also refer to consumers increasingly looking for an easy shopping experience, and the effect of the growth of online retail. Packaging it seems needs to be able to survive in an e-commerce world, as new digital printing code-based consumer ‘engagement’ solutions were discussed.

    I thought the Nova School of Business Economics presentation by Jao Castro was ‘novel’ in itself, with the use of ‘Economist’ magazine cover statements to illustrate his point. Changing consumer behaviour he’s noting is something that worries marketers who would like to put people into their little boxes and keep them there, but change also provides an opportunity, the very fact that consumers ‘bring on’ change far more easily than they used to decades ago, shows that we are increasingly becoming receptive to new ideas and new thinking and this can only provide opportunities. Moreover it provides opportunities for new companies and start-ups too who would previously found too many barriers to launch. Online marketing, social media marketing are perfect for ‘guerrilla brands’ to sneak in and gain an audience.

    The Juice Summit is organized by and for the industry, which makes it a unique experience in this field. Thanks to its success over the last six events, the Juice Summit is now a global, annual conference which guarantees the presence of renowned industry experts who are active on both the European and international juice scene.

    For more information regarding the speakers and programme e: charlotte.meuwis@aijn.org


    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 17 Sep
    Time to get grapefruit juice back on the menu

    Time to get grapefruit juice back on the menu

    Grapefruit juice could be the next big thing if marketers get it right suggests Caroline Whibley. 

    The health benefits of this wonder fruit really are encouraging.

    It wasn’t long ago households regularly bought grapefruit for breakfast or drank the ‘tart’ grapefruit juice, and told themselves they were being healthy. In fact, back in the 30s the Grapefruit Diet, also called the Hollywood Diet, involved having grapefruit or grapefruit juice with every meal while cutting back on calories.  People swore by it. Grapefruit has a long history with being associated with good health so where is it heading now?

    ‘In tests mice fed fatty foods

    and juice gained 18%

    less weight than others’

    Lately the consumption of grapefruit juice has declined sharply, following the accidental discovery of the interaction between grapefruit juice and certain drugs, particularly statins, extensively prescribed as cholesterol reducers. Grapefruit juice was found to interfere with the absorption of the drugs in the small intestine, thus affecting their bioavailability and increasing their toxicity. Suddenly you find the juice on the no-no list of what not to consume from your doctor.  However rather than spending a lifetime on statins surely we need to be teaching the public to consume food & drinks and health regimes that help them to keep a lower cholesterol – are statins a sticky plaster rather than really treating anything at all, and yes they benefit many, however . . .

    Long term I think we all want to see more healthy remedies to our ills, so I’m pretty positive about grapefruit juice and think it’s one to watch out for, if we can get the marketing right this dynamo juice really has some excellent benefits according to organic associations, health specialists and the science arena . . .

    Grapejuice helps reduce the effect of fatty food

    According to scientists grapefruit juice really can help us lose weight.  It is said drinking grapefruit juice when eating fatty food can help reduce weight put on by a fifth – now that is a nice statistic. They also say fruit juice could keep blood sugar levels under control. In tests mice fed fatty foods and juice gained 18% less weight than others. The research also suggested that grapefruit could be as good as prescription drugs at keeping blood sugar levels under control – a key part of managing diabetes. Professor Joseph Napoli, of the University of California, Berkeley, said: “We see all sorts of scams about nutrition.

    But these results, based on controlled experiments, warrant further study of the potential health-promoting properties of grapefruit juice.” The British Dietetic Association said the fruit now needs to be thoroughly tested in humans to see if it could help with weight loss and stem the rise of obesity and diabetes.


    Grapefruit juice carries a range of health benefits, they are low in calories but are full of nutrients, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C.

    Harvard Medical School states that grapefruit has a glycemic index of 25. This suggests that it does not significantly affect blood sugar and insulin levels. Many studies have suggested that increasing the consumption of plant foods such as grapefruit decreases the risk of  obesity, diet, heart disease and overall mortality while. It is also said to promote a healthy complexion, increased energy, and lower overall weight.


    According to the American Heart Association, eating higher amounts of flavonoid may lower the risk of ischemic stroke  for women. Flavonoids are compounds found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit. The risk of ischemic stroke was 19% lower for those who consumed the highest amounts of citrus than for women who consumed the lowest amounts.

    Blood pressure and heart health

    The powerful nutrient combination of fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C, and choline in grapefruit juice all help to maintain a healthy heart. In one study those who consumed 4069 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one grapefruit with a 3-to-3.5-inch diameter contains 139 mg potassium. Grapefruit juice is an excellent option for helping to increase the daily intake of potassium. Increasing potassium intake is also important for lowering blood pressure because of its powerful vasodilation effects. Vasodilation widens the arteries. The DASH diet, designed to reduce blood pressure through dietary options, includes grapefruit as a recommended food.


    Grapefruit juice is a rich source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C. These can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. Lycopene intake  has been linked with a decreased risk of prostrate cancer in several studies.

    Digestion & hydration

    The Grapefruit , because of its water and fiber content, helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Grapefruit consists of 91% water. This makes it one of the most hydrating fruits available. Grapefruit juice is also full of electrolytes.


    ‘The juice or grapefruit itself contains valuable and natural quinine, which is advantageous for the treatment of malaria’


    Grapefruit juice has been linked to healthy skin. However, caution is advised for people who spend a lot of time in the sun.

    The antioxidant vitamin C can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture when eaten in food or applied to the skin. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation of collagen , the main support system of the skin. Regular hydration and vitamin A are also crucial for healthy-looking skin. Grapefruit provides both of these.

    Treat Influenza

    Grapefruit juice is a valuable remedy for influenza since it helps minimize acidity in the system. The bitter properties arising from an essence called ‘naringin’ in grapefruits tone up the system and the digestive process.  Naringin is also considered a flavonoid, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities, making them one of the most important lines of defense in the immune system, protecting against influenza as well as many other serious conditions.

    Treat Malaria

    The juice or grapefruit itself contains valuable and natural quinine, which is advantageous for the treatment of malaria. Quinine is an alkaloid with a long history of treating malaria, as well as lupus, arthritis and nocturnal leg cramps.  It is not an easy component to find in many foods, so grapefruits are a beneficial and rare example. The quinine can be easily extracted from the fruits by boiling a quarter of grapefruit and straining the pulp.

    Cure Fever

    The pulp or the juice of grapefruit helps patients recover quickly from fever, and it reduces the burning sensation that occurs when the body reaches a high temperature. It is also known as a way to boost the immune system against cold and other common illnesses. Grapefruit juice, when combined with water, can quench thirst very quickly and keep you hydrated for longer. Most of these benefits come from the high content of vitamin C in grapefruits, which acts as a general immune system defense system and can help the body in fighting the fever.

    Promote Sleep

    A glass of grapefruit juice, if consumed before going to bed, can promote healthy sleep and alleviate the irritating symptoms and repercussions of insomnia. This is due to the presence of tryptophan in grapefruits, the chemical we often associate with becoming sleepy after big meals. The levels of tryptophan in grapefruit juice enable us to nod off peacefully.

    Treat Urinary Disorders

    Grapefruit juice is quite rich in potassium and vitamin C, so it is one of the best treatments for issues related to urination often caused by liver, kidney or heart problems. Furthermore, its high potassium content works as a vasodilator, meaning that blood vessels and arteries relax, thereby reducing blood pressure and lessening the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Also, increased levels of potassium have been associated with higher cognitive function because of increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain!


    • Revenue in the Grapefruit Juice segment amounts to US$276m in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 0.8% (CAGR 2018-2021).
    • From an international perspective it is shown that most revenue is generated in the United States (US$314m in 2018).
    • Sources: Science Direct, Medical News Today, Organicsfacts.net, Healthline.com, Mail Online, Statistica.com
    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 17 Sep
    Trade spat hits juice trade

    Trade spat hits juice trade

    Cranberry juice and orange juice have been dragged into the crossfire in a trade dispute between the United States and the European Union, reports Chris Lyddon.

    Hit by EU reaction to an American decision to slap tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium. The row started on 1 March when President Trump imposed extra import duties on EU exports of steel and aluminium on exports of steel and aluminium from the EU and other countries to the US. The duties were 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium.

    EU adopts rebalancing measures in reaction to US steel and aluminium tariffs.

    The EU responded with what it called ‘rebalancing measures’ targeting products worth €2.8 billion and taking effect on 22 June. The EU’s list included not only steel and aluminium, but a long list of agricultural and industrial products. It includes orange and cranberry juice.

    The EU says it’s simply exercising its rights under World Trade Organisation rules. “We did not want to be in this position,” said “Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. “However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the US to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice.” The rules of international trade could not be violated without a response. “If the US removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed,” Malmström said. The EU says the actual trade value of the steel and aluminium affected by the US measures is €6.4 billion. It will come up with a further €3.6 billion of ‘rebalancing’ in three years, or after a positive finding in a WTO dispute, which ever comes first.

    Canada has also responded by imposing tariffs on a list of products, including orange juice, which has faced a 10% tariff from 1 July. The total value of its list is C$16.6 billion, representing the value of the Canadian products affected by the US measures. “The unilateral trade restrictions by the United States are also in violation of NAFTA and WTO trade rules,” said in Ottawa on 31 May. “Canada will therefore launch dispute-settlement proceedings under NAFTA Chapter 20 and WTO Dispute Settlement.

    “Canada will also closely collaborate with like-minded WTO members, including the European Union, to challenge these illegal and counterproductive US measures at the WTO,” she said. Like the EU, she dismissed the US suggestion that its measures were justified by national security. “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States,” she said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking the same day, was more forthright on that subject. “For 150 years, Canada has been America’s most steadfast ally,” he said. “Canadians have served alongside Americans in two world wars and in Korea.”

    US cranberry producers have been hit from other directions. Mexico, also responding to Trump’s steel and aluminium duties, imposed a 20% tariff on dried cranberries in June. China has also imposed a tariff on dried cranberries from the US.

    The Wall Street Journal quoted Linda Prehn, a Wisconsin grower and president of the Cranberry Growers Cooperative, in an article on the world’s moves to retaliate against the cranberry. “It’s ironic,” she said. “I would say most Wisconsin cranberry growers supported Trump. They’d hate to see their businesses tank because of these tariffs.”

    An article published by the Capital Press website on 28 August, put the value of US exports of cranberries and cranberry products at about $300 million a year. It quoted, Terry Humfeld, Executive Director of the Massachusetts-based Cranberry Institute as saying that it was too early to say what the effect on the sector would be. “We believe there is an impact, but don’t have any numbers to back that up, and probably won’t for a few months,” he said.

    According to Ocean Spray, more than half the world’s cranberries come from the US state of Wisconsin. They are one of only three fruits native to North America.

    Speaking to the FreightWaves website, Kellyanne Dignan, Ocean Spray’s Director of Global Corporate Affairs, said that “any tariffs that increase the price of either our ingredient or branded products will hurt our farmer families’ bottom line.”

    “It is also important to note, the tariffs that have been placed on cranberry products do nothing but raise prices for global consumers, as there is no domestic production to protect outside of the US, Canada, and Chile,” she said.


    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 09 Aug
    Deionized juice an alternative to traditional added sugars

    Deionized juice an alternative to traditional added sugars

    By Juan Manuel Pérez, Quality Control Manager, Lemon Concentrate, Spain

    There is a growing mentality amongst consumers that added sugar in drinks, and in food in general, is detrimental to health. In some countries, such as the UK, a tax has been imposed on the addition of sugar in soft drinks and sweetened beverages.

    The tendency in Europe is to reduce the quantity of sugar added to food or use sugar from natural sources.

    An alternative option to traditional sugars is to use sugars derived from fruit or, in other words, deionized fruit juice concentrates. These are produced from squeezed fruit which is then filtered, decoloured, deionized and subsequently concentrated. Characteristics such as acidity, colour and flavour are eliminated during the process, resulting in a transparent, colourless concentrate with a neutral flavour constituted fundamentally by sugars derived from the fruit. This can then be used as a natural sweetener in many foods.

    These concentrates are mainly obtained from grape, apple and pear juice, although other fruits such as citruses, carob and pineapple can also be used.

    The principal nutritional benefit of these products is that they offer an ideal balance between the sugars from which they are constituted, a low glycaemic index and, as such, a slow increase in blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a specific foodstuff.

    Likewise, the use of these products allows for clean labelling as they can be denominated within a list of ingredients such as ‘fruit sugars’, as well as for possible claims such as ‘with 100% natural fruit sugars’.




    Possible claims that can be used in products in which they are included are:

    • Contains natural fruit sugars
    • Low glycaemic index (provided it is shown in the incorporated food matrix)


    Possible denominations within the list of ingredients:

    • Concentrated fruit extract
    • Fruit sugar


    Origin, production and application


    In the industrial process, only physical extraction methods are applied so that the sugars that are naturally present remain in the final product. These sugars are in no way obtained using other techniques of hydrolysis of other superior sugars (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides) with the use of chemical products and/or enzymes. Figure 1 shows the flowchart of the manufacturing process.


    Fruit                                Extraction                          Clarification                       Purification                Concentration             Mixture                               Pasteurization                    Packaging           


    Figure 1: flowchart of the manufacturing process of deionized concentrate

    Source: Lemon Concentrate – www.lemonconcentrate.com


    The deionized fruit extract is a liquid in the form of a concentrated syrup containing a dry matter of 65-70% with a high viscosity. It has a sweet flavour similar to sucrose and its organoleptic properties allow for its application in various food matrices such a wide range of drinks, dairy products, ice creams, sweets, jams and confectionery depending on the application. This range of application can go from doses of very few g/kg even up to doses greater than 90g/kg). The brix level of the product ranges between 65-70 and the pH between 4-5.


    Nutritional composition


    This product is composed mainly of sucrose, glucose and fructose in variable percentages depending on the fruits used. They can be manufactured from a single fruit or from a mixture of fruits in different proportions. Table 1 shows the concentration of the different sugars in some of the fruits used in the manufacture of these products.


    Fruit Sucrose (% of total sugars) Glucose (% of total sugars) Fructose (% of total sugars)
    Grape 0 49-51 49-51
    Apple 8-10 25-29 62-66
    Pear 8-12 22-26 66-70
    Orange 45-50 22-24 25-27
    Carob 72-76 12-14 11-13
    Pineapple 50-55 20-25 20-25

    Table 1: The concentration of different sugars in some fruits used in the manufacture of deionized juice.

    Source: Lemon Concentrate – www.lemonconcentrate.com


    The energy content of these products is the same as that of the sugar (4 kcal and 17 kj/g of dry matter). This energy content varies according to the dry matter of the final product, ranging between 265 kcal and 1105 kj to 280 kcal and 1,190 kj (per 100 g of product).


    Food safety


    From a food safety perspective, deionized juice has a very low content of residue of pesticides, mycotoxin and heavy metals which in many cases remains below quantification limits. On a microbiological level the product presents an absence of spoiling microorganisms (yeasts, moulds and acidophilus bacteria), coliforms and E. Coli and pathogens.


    Properties: Glycaemic index and naturalness


    Though these products contain the same energy content as sugar, they present a low Glycaemic Index (GI<55) due mainly to their high level of fructose. However, unlike crystalline fructose which is usually used in food formulations and which is obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis of inulin, the deionized concentrate is 100% fruit sugar extracted only by physical processes. Table 2 shows the Glycaemic Index of some sugars and foods, as well as that of the deionized fruits.


    100 GLUCOSE
    87 Honey
    72 White rice
    70 Boiled potatoes
    69 White bread
    62 Bananas
    59 White sugar (SUCROSE)
    59 Sweet corn
    59 Pastries
    51 Chips
    51 Sweet potatoes (yams)
    50 Refined flour spaghetti
    Under 50 Deionized fruit concentrates
    45 Grapes
    42 Wholemeal rye bread
    42 Whole wheat spaghetti
    40 Oranges
    39 Apples
    36 Yoghurt
    34 Whole milk
    23 Cherries
    15 Soya
    13 Peanuts


    Table 2: The Glycaemic Index of some sugars and foods, as well as that of the deionized fruits

    Source: Lemon Concentrate – www.lemonconcentrate.com


    When we eat any food that is high in sugar, the levels of glucose in the blood increases progressively as the starches and sugars they contain are digested and assimilated. The speed with which different foods are digested and assimilated depends on the type of nutrients they are composed of, on the quantity of fibre present and on the composition of the remaining foodstuffs present in the stomach and intestine during digestion.

    These aspects are valued according to the glycaemic index of the foodstuff. This index is the relation between the area of the curve of absorption of an intake of 50g of pure glucose over time and that obtained when ingesting the same quantity of foodstuff in question.

    The glycaemic index is determined in laboratories under controlled conditions. The process consists of taking blood samples at short intervals from a person who has consumed pure glucose solutions and comparing this with their consumption of the foodstuff in question. Despite being somewhat difficult to determine, interpreting the results is very simple: high indexes imply rapid absorption while low indexes indicate slow absorption.

    This index is of great importance for diabetics given that they must avoid rapid increases in glucose in the blood.

    Carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index can cause major problems in both controlling diabetes and in the formation of fats.

    Deionized fruit concentrates contain a low Glycaemic Index so they produce a slow increase in blood sugar levels and can in turn aid the reduction of the Glycaemic Index of the foodstuff to which it is applied. Providing the final product presents a tested Glycaemic Index, an adequate glycaemic load and a similarly adequate nutritional profile, its consumption can be recommended to people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.

    Furthermore, this type of product also presents added value compared with conventional sugars (cane or beet, glucose and fructose syrup), in that they are commonly used in the formulation of food due to their positive image of naturalness because they are 100% derived from fruit, something that allows for clean labelling on the products that they are included in. They also provide a balanced profile of sugars, because the sugars are naturally present in the fruit in the first place.


    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 09 Aug
    Organic juice in focus . . .

    Organic juice in focus . . .

    By Ruben Verbruggen, Managing Director, Vero-bio b.v., The Netherlands


    Most consumers are under the opinion that with a world taking more and more responsibility for sustainability and health, the use of pesticides is changing and is something of the past.

    Well, let’s look at that past. While humans originally cultivated their crops organically, the use of chemicals in agriculture actually dates back way further back than most people think, with early records evidencing its use as far back as 2500 BC with the use of sulphur in agriculture to harmonise bacteria’s and fungus, to around 300 BC when arsenic was used to protect citrus trees against caterpillars, beetles and aggressive ants.

    The Romans discovered that amurca, a residue from olive oil, was a poisonous ingredient for most ants, moles and weeds as they looked for solutions to the many crops affected by devastating diseases.

    The scientific revolution during the Renaissance, led by Mr. Antoni van Leeuwenhoek in 1675, acknowledged the existence of bacteria. It also created awareness about the use of poisonous pesticides, which resulted in the ban of arsenic and the development of seeds by the French government.

    By the nineteenth and twentieth century, the development of large scale use of chemicals was being applied to agriculture worldwide. The period after the 1950s was labelled the ‘pesticide era’. Many areas were looking to increase productivity and pesticides sometimes tripled output.


    Pesticide definitions


    To have a better understanding of the word ‘pesticide’, it is important to differentiate the types of pesticides, which can be classified into five categories:


    1)         Insecticide (applicable to insects)

    2)         Nematicides (applicable to soil nematodes)

    3)         Herbicides (applicable to weed)

    4)         Rodenticides (applicable to rodents)

    5)         Fungicides  (applicable to bacteria’s, viruses and fungus)


    During the ‘pesticide era’, the industry and farmers discovered the advantages for higher and specific use of pesticides. Farmers were producing more per acre and pesticides improved efficiency and effectiveness. The plants were less affected by damage and disease and the produce was more appealing. More appealing fruits gained a higher price on the market, driving more farmers to use pesticides. While the industry was eager to gain more produce and higher profits, it ignored and denied the negative consequences for using pesticides.


    Selective use


    If farmers are not selective in their use of pesticides, it causes the destruction of other beneficial organisms. Growers that continue to use pesticides on a large scale experience that certain unwanted organisms become resistant to certain pesticides, which leads to overdosing of pesticides – and this causes damage.

    But a much bigger concern is the accumulation in the food supply chain. When organisms eat each other, the biological mass reduces but the amount of toxin remains the same – this is known as biological stacking. The animal or human at the end of the food supply chain will receive a consolidated amount of toxins due to accumulation in the food supply chain.

    The pesticides will also reach the human body when soil is affected by too much pesticides, leading to the infection of groundwater, which is often used for drinkable water for people.


    Consumer driven


    Most consumers recognize and accept that the use of chemical pesticides is not good for the environment and human body. Still, most make the decision to buy goods in which pesticides have been applied, mainly from an economical point of view. The price is lower and the product is often appealing.

    However, the average person is becoming more and more aware of the food they consume. They are stimulated and driven into directions of healthier and more sustainable produced food. Governmental acts force industries to use less sugar and salt in products, while food scandals help consumers to evaluate their purchase decision of the products they are buying. Industries react by offering a wider range of ‘light’ versions against their traditional products, while at the same time forcing their supply chain to work proactively on sustainable food production.

    In the juice and beverage industry, we are seeing that traditional orange and apple juices are being impacted by these government acts and consumers buying decisions, and the industry is reacting by offering alternative ‘light’ beverage versions.

    The new trend is to find innovative products to take a piece of the growing demand for organic juices. The increase in demand for organic certified juices is especially strong in recent years and is forecast to remain strong for the next five to ten years. Some reports indicate that the organic apple juice market will grow with a compound annual growth rate of nearly 20%.


    Environmental mentality


    Most studies indicate that the main individual driving factor for consumers to buy organic juice is ‘health’, while the collective driving factor is ‘environment’.

    Consumers associate their individual choice for organic produce with personal health, but as group they claim organic produce is better for our environment with a preference for produce from their own region. Whether or not an organic produced and certified juice is more ‘healthier’ to a non-organic produced and certified juice is questioned in some articles – the fact is that consumers are making their choice.

    Most food companies are busy trying to take a piece of the organic market and social compliance is definitely a new trend in the food supply chain. Consumers associate organic certification with sustainability, with labels like fair trade and rainforest alliance. However, the food industry, in general, knows that ‘solely organic’ cannot be considered sustainable, unless the social compliance is met as well.


    Organic limits


    We are seeing lately a strong pressure on the supply chain for organic certified juice with social compliance, by means of certifications such as SMETA, SA 8000 and BSCI.

    The increase in demand for organic fruit juice is also stimulated by a continuous rise in demand for organic produce coming from the baby food market. This trend is driven by the fast-paced life of modern day parents. Most people now live in urban areas, are time poor, and do not want to spend time on the preparation of food at home. So, they tend to buy instant food products to fulfil the basic requirements of their infants. Government legislation also has a hand in this market by stimulating organic fruit juice in kindergartens and schools.

    The baby food market is throwing up other challenges for the supply chain in that it is, for obvious reasons, stricter about the use of organic raw materials, especially with regard to presence of phosphonic acid and fosethyl. Phosphonic acid and fosethyl have been widely used as organic fertilizer, which has affected soil and trees. The growth of the baby food market means additional pressure on the production of organic and baby food raw materials. In most fruit juice segments, it is hard to keep fulfilling the demand coming from the baby food market with its stricter regulations.

    Looking to the future, with a population of around seven billion people worldwide, the question is where we will reach our boundaries when we focus on expanding organic produce worldwide.

    Organic produce limits the produce per acre and is continuously under threat from diseases for which no organic substance or organism has been found to prevent a lower output and/or infection of other plants.


    The organic question


    There are more and more producers deciding to convert to organic farming, being attracted by the high demand and envisioned higher pricing for their produce. The risks and higher costs of production are being accepted and seen as an investment as a strategic move in their business concept.

    The industry is aware of the challenges the organic juice market is facing with uncertainty if supply can keep up with demand. More exporters are starting to work closely with farmers, and on joint production projects helping them over the technical and agronomist obstacles.

    This gives growers access to lower processing, packing and labour costs and enables them to deliver high quality products fulfilling the latest quality standards demanded by the market.

    This continuous growth of the organic market shows no signs of slowing down. Organic products boosted the juice market in 2017 and statistics show now that the purchase of organic fruit juice is becoming a habit amongst consumers rather than a purchase for a special occasion. The number of organic farmers is growing, but the question about availability of raw material certainly exists.

    The continuous trend of consumers eating healthier and more responsibly, and the focus on sustainable farming, is likely to lead to an increased need for organic juices.


    By Caroline Calder Features
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