A report on findings of the 6 March workshop, by IFU Executive Director John Collins
The annual IFU Technical Workshop (in conjunction with SGF and AIJN) took place on the 6th March at the Electra Palace Hotel close to the Parthenon in Greece.
Dirk Lansbergen, IFU President, welcomed the large international crowd including juice colleagues from North and South America who came to enjoy a wide range of technically informative presentations. IFU are grateful to Biosystems of Spain for their sponsorship of the workshop, who also had a display area showing their range of enzymatic based test kits. It was followed by a Greek networking dinner at the Garden of Zappion, which was sponsored again by GfL Laboratories and KSY blends for the first time. During dinner the IFU commission excellence award was presented to Dr David Hammond for his dedicated contributions to the Methods of Analysis Commission and Legislation Commission.
‘cans are the most
container in the world’
Workshop – focus on sustainability
The IFU workshop first session consisted of a series of short presentations, followed by a panel discussion with questions from the audience on the Sustainability of Packaging. It was opened by Norman Gierow if SIG who showed that SIG have 2 sustainable carton alternatives utilising plant-based polymers which won the 2018 German Packaging sustainability award. They also offer the world’s first alternative straw solution, the straight paper straw, designed for the beverage carton. Next Tim Neal of O-I reminded us that glass bottles are 100% natural, reusable and infinitely recyclable, being a circular economy champion for over 40 years. He also included information on the technological evolution of glass manufacturing.
Claudia Bierth from Ball Packaging Europe stated that cans were the perfect choice for the circular economy and in fact cans are the most recycled beverage container in the world. It was shown that the carbon footprint of cans has significantly improved since the 1980’s. With high recycling rates and additional user benefits of fast and efficient filling plus favourable logistic solutions cans should be considered for packing juices.
Although not from the packaging industry David Berryman presented some of the challenges faced by the significant use of plastic materials in the supply chain. He gave an example of the successful recycling efficiency of PET achieved in Germany as a model to perhaps follow and also how the industry as a whole may move forward switching from petrochemical sources to renewable materials and how plastic waste may be broken down by the use of enzymes.
A robust debate amongst the panel and with the audience closed the session leaving the participants with insights of the sustainable comparisons suited for different needs and the opportunities for improved sustainability.
A question of sugar
Our next session concerned the processing of juices and juice-based beverages. There has been much ill-informed comment in the media about the natural levels of sugar present in pure juices. Dr Martin Foltz of Doehler gave an overview of that communication landscape and then provided a technological review of how sugar levels may be reduced, considering the impact on product design and legal status. Apart from product reformulation there are opportunities with fermentation/bio transformation and physical separation. A number of products are available to the consumer that are clear in appearance, however without careful manufacturing controls, undesirable hazes and clouds may develop.
Professor Dr Frank Will of Hochshule Geisenheim University provided a detailed explanation of the main aspects to control and the necessary analysis required to complement them. Being in Greece we were delighted that Mario Chronis from Aspis could give us an overview of how the Greek fruit processing industry has developed, the range of products available and challenges faced in the future. We then had a chance to see operations in action the following day with a Technical Tour to the Aspis factory included a tasting of some of their tasteful juices.
‘The new combination of
micro filtration with heat processing
now offers bottlers improved
sustainable processing opportunities for the future’
Coconut water has become more popular in recent years and Dr David Hammond showed us the differences between coconut water, milk and cream with pictorial and schematic demonstrations of the manufacturing process. The analytical composition was reviewed in order to show what authentic product should analytically look like.
Rounding off the session we were delighted that Maria Norlin of Tetra Pak gave us the Worlds first presentation on Tetra Pak’s new low energy technology for the processing of juices and still juice based drinks. The new combination of micro filtration with heat processing now offers bottlers improved sustainable processing opportunities for the future.
The next session provided a focus on analysis. Colour is an important quality criterion for juice products and Christian Jansen of Hunter Lab reminded us how consumers react to colour and then showed different scales that can be used for measurement. It was completed with a practical application for use by manufacturers. Brix measurement is very common in the juice industry but how well is the science of measuring soluble solids understood? Mathis Kuchejda of Schmidt and Haensch took us back to basics with the theory and how it is applied with commercial measuring equipment, guiding the audience through some of the challenges presented by the user.
Moving onto microbiology Carina Post of Doehler presented the topic on heat resistant mould, informing the workshop of the main species of concern with their characteristics, spoilage types and control strategies that should be applied.
The juice industry is proud of the authentic nature of its products and the care that goes into maintaining that enviable status. As one of the leading organisations in this field Dr Susanne Koswig of SGF International presented a definition of fraud, along with the control strategies that are applied along the supply chain. Demonstrating successful outcomes, continued vigilance is necessary, and it was shown how SGF continues to partner and support the juice industry to that end.
The workshop was completed by myself representing the IFU on the Codex Alimentarius structure and operations. Some of the key guidelines impacting the juice industry were reviewed and that changes that are coming along were also shown.
It was announced that the 2020 workshop will take place in March in Vienna.