• 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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