The thermal processing technology of low pH functional beverages 


Functional beverage is classified as low pH canned foods in Taiwan. 
In addition to the stricter condition of sterilization, it is more important to ensure the
quality and full-nutrition of functional beverage within shelf life.

Different functional beverages require different processing technology.
The water, pH value and soluble solid content not only affect the flavor, taste and stability, but also influence the content of pathogenic bacteria and microorganism.
In order to ensure the effects, taste, safety and quality during shelf life, it is necessary to choose appropriate formulation, packing, filling and sterilization methods for different functional beverages. 

▼ Comparison of different processing of functional beverages

Methods
Acidified functional beverages
Water activity>0.85, with acidifier, pH≦4.6
Low pH functional beverages
water activity>0.85,pH≧4.6

Filling

Hot-filling

Cold-filling

Hot-filling

Cold-filling

Product

Functional beverage

Juice, soda, energy drink

Packed tea, packed coffee, functional beverage

Juice, milk, yogurt, drinks contain milk

Container

Glass Bottles, aluminum can, tin can

PET Bottle, aluminum pull-top can, tin can

Glass bottle, PET Bottle, aluminum pull-top can, tin can

Plastic bottle, retort pouch, carton drink 

Processing

Material formulating

>Container-washing>Hot-filling> sterilization>Cooling>Packing>10 days test and analysis>Shipping

1. Material formulating > sterilization>Cooling

2. Container sterilization

3.Cool-filling>Packing>Shipping

1. Material formulating > sterilization>Cooling

2. Container sterilization

3. Hot-filling>test>Cooling> Packing and shipping

1. Material formulating > sterilization>Cooling

2. Container sterilization

3. Cool-filling>Packing

Conditions of

normal commercial  sterilization

High Pressure High Temperature

Ultra-high temperature (UHT)

High Temperature Short Time (HTST)

Low Temperature Long Time (LTLT)

Low Temperature Long Time (LTLT)

 

High Temperature Short Time (HTST)

 

High Pressure High Temperature

Ultra-high temperature (UHT)

 

High Temperature Short Time (HTST)

 

Microorganisms, pathogenic bacteria residues

No

Yes

Yes

(except High Pressure High Temperature)

Yes

preservative

No preservative

Might need preservative

Might need preservative except High Pressure High Temperature

No preservative, but need to be kept in refrigerator

Shelf Life

1~3 year in room temperature

1-2 weeks in refrigerator or

6 months- 1 year in room temperature

Depends on different sterilization methods.

6 months-1 year in room temperature

1-2 weeks in in refrigerator or

3 months- 6 months in room temperature.

Depends on different sterilization methods.


Both high pressure high temperatures (HP–HT) and Low Temperature Long Time (LTLT) sterilization could eliminate all pathogenic microorganisms in functional beverages. The differences of these methods are the “sterilization pressure”, “sterilization time”, and “sterilization temperature”.

The most common sterilization methods are:
LTLT :Low Temperature Long Time (LTLT)
HTST:High Temperature Short Time (HTST)
UHT : Ultra-High Temperature (UHT)

It will usually lose some flavors and nutrition during the sterilization process.
In order to maintain the flavor and nutrition, the heat sterilization is more suitable.
For example: The nutrition and flavor can be preserved through 72°C to 74°C HTST sterilization for 15 seconds; or 135°C to 150°C UHT sterilization for 1-2 seconds.
However, it is relatively necessary to shorten the shelf life or add preservatives to extend the shelf life.
According to the description above, for the thermal processing of functional beverages, you have to choose between "zero detection of microorganisms and pathogens" and "nutrition with deliciousness" .You can't have it both ways.

By changing the settings of “sterilization pressure”, “sterilization time”, and “sterilization temperature” in HPHT sterilization method to maintain the F0-value (the level of microbial destruction obtained by thermal treatment) unchanged.
By means of the internationally recognized conversion rules, you could figure out an optimal sterilization condition of functional beverages, in order to retain the nutrition and flavors.
According to Taiwan’s regulation, the F0-value of low pH functional beverages should be greater than or equal to 3.
Each product has its own F0-value which is independent.
Setting a F0-value (or LSV value) is mainly based on the Heat Distribution test and the Heat Penetration test of the sterilization equipment.


 There are several factors that will influence the heat penetration of sterilized products: 
(a)Quantity of each batch
(b)The size, specification, material, characteristics and of the containers
(c) pH value, Brix value and viscosity of the liquid
(d) Pressure during sterilization, heating conditions and duration of sterilization temperature.

The F0 value should be tested by an internationally recognized inspection institution at the factory.
In this case the appropriate sterilization value of each product can be obtained, and the test report can be issued.

Our F0 Value is defined in a way that is similar to the Least Sterilizing Value (LSV value) of FDA regulation in the United States.
However, the regulation for LSV Value in the United States is more rigorous.

It needs to have the information such as the type of sterilization equipment, the specifications of the packaging containers, the physical and chemical characteristics of the beverage, the microorganisms of the hazard index… etc., in order to further calculate the proper LSV value.

LSV value test report is one of the most important and necessary information for beverage products and international export.
The sterilization equipment that A.T.P. Co., Ltd possess with, has the heat distribution test report issued by the US FDA approved institution, and the heat penetration test report of all functional beverages.

No matter the products are classified as acidified canned or low acid canned, A.T.P. Co., Ltd could accurately adjust the thermal sterilization conditions based on the customized formulas.
The advantages of the existing sterilization technology of "acidified drinks" will be further upgraded and applied to the field of "sterilization of low-acid drinks", so as to make our healthy functional beverages more in line with the international market demands.


For those business partners who are eager to expand the overseas market on supplement and functional beverages, A.T.P. Co., Ltd could provide you:
◆ The best formula of functional beverages
◆ Precise sterilization conditions
◆ Long shelf life
◆ Assist in import and export inspection documents
◆ Experiences on promoting functional beverages

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to inquiry or consult on our ODM/OEM services on functional beverages and supplements.
We are here at your service with all our heart.


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