Vibha Gaur*

Fruit concentrates are fruits without water and fibres. They are made by removing water from freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juiceIt is usually used as base stock for various food products. With less volume, it contains soluble solids of 65%-70%. Fruit juice concentrate process is an effective way to reduce packing and transportation cost.

Concentrates made from 100% fruit are the healthiest option. There may be an impression that juice from concentrate is not so good in comparison with natural freshly expressed juice. But in reality, as long as no additional sugars and preservatives are added, there really isn’t any difference! Both types of juices go through a similar pasteurizing process which involves removing potentially harmful pathogens that could have been in the fruit. The squash is heated quickly to kill off pathogens. Juices made from concentrates are juiced directly from the fruit before being filtered to extract the water through a processor – this saves space when it’s being transported. Before it is packaged up and sold to the public, water is added again and then pasteurized. Whereas “not from concentrate” juice is produced by juicing the fruit before simply pasteurizing it.

Oranges are the most frequently processed fruits for the production of juices and juice concentrates . Orange juice possesses a very delicate flavor owing to the presence of a mixture of volatile compounds. During storage, changes in these flavor fractions may lead to a loss of freshness and original taste. Gradually developing unpleasant odors deteriorate the original taste of the product. High acidity and storage temperature promote such changes. Vitamin C degradation associated with the availability of oxygen has also been nominated as one of the major causes of the flavor changes. The oxygen-barrier property of the packaging materials determines the extent of oxygen penetration. Besides the oxygen-barrier nature of the packaging, higher storage temperature promotes the oxygen permeability of the packaging material.

Nowadays, concentrates are frequently used as flavoring in alcoholic, carbonated, and noncarbonated beverages, candies, baked items, and culinary goods. Orange juice concentrates usually contain more than 35% solids comprising pulp, non-volatiles, pectin and the highest possible level of retained aroma and flavor volatile compounds. Unfortunately, the aroma and flavor volatiles are low boiling in nature and are hard to retain. For example, ethyl butyrate and D- limonene are important contributors toward the fruity character of orange juices and should be retained in any case about 0.1% of the aroma and flavor volatile compounds. The orange juice concentrate is often produced by filtering the extracted materials into what is known as pulp and a serum (filtrate portion). The filtrate portion mainly comprises 7%–20% solids in water and is concentrated by taking out pure water through freeze concentration. The freeze/sublimation concentration step can be accomplished by freeze concentration or by sublimation concentration. When sublimation concentration is used, the pulp does not have to be separated from the serum. Substantially 100% of the nonvolatile solids are retained. Moreover, the product is substantially free of oxidative degradation products. The serum portion is concentrated by freeze concentration or sublimation concentration. The freeze concentration is accomplished in a manner in which the water is removed as substantially or essentially as pure ice crystals. In orange juice, when concentrated following freezing concentration, the nutritional losses would be only due to phase changes because solids adhered to or occluded on ice or washed with melt ice. However, the juice concentration system and packing unit should be maintained under an inert environment to avoid oxidation and loss of low boiling aroma and flavor compounds.

In this situation, a highly preferred embodiment should contain a concentrator equipped with scraped wall heat exchanger which allows the crystals to recrystallize and grow in size (more than 100 μm) under conditions such that essentially pure ice is retained at the exit of the tank. Recently, a research followed direct-contact membrane distillation or osmosis (DCO) to concentrate the clarified orange juice. Briefly, clarified raw juice (9.5°Brix) was first concentrated by ultrafiltration (24°Brix) and then distilled up to 65°Brix following a two-step DCO. It was observed that permeate flux across the membrane decayed with the increase in the concentration of viscosity of the juice. However, the method was announced to be safe regarding the sensory, nutritional, and organoleptic attributes as compared to thermal evaporation. The juice produced at various concentration levels also exhibited appreciable levels of antioxidant character.

After concentration, the produced orange juice concentrate is usually stored in stainless steel tanks before filling into polyline steel drums. Storage temperature ranges from 0°C to −5°C. Microbiological growth is very slow in 65°Brix orange concentrate due to high sugar content causing high osmotic pressure. The concentrate stored at below 0°C is principally stable against microbiological growth. However, a liquid layer of low-brix juice develops on the top of storage tanks due to condensation of water vapor over the cold product which may initiate microbial growth on the top of the storage tank. This can be controlled by fitting an ultraviolet lamp in the top of storage tank to inactivate the microbes.

To minimize changes in quality, juice concentrate is kept at freezing temperature during long storage. The bulk storage of concentrate sometimes needs to be extended up to 1 year or even more. The concentrate packed in polylined steel drums is placed in frozen storage at below −18°C to avoid product quality degradation during long-term storage. The juice concentrate can safely be stored at 20°C for several years. A temperature of −8°C is safe during transportation of the product. Orange juice concentrate produced at 65–66°Brix is mostly stored as frozen; however, it can also be processed/packed aseptically and stored below 7.5°C. In this mode of preservation/packaging, fruit pulps/juice concentrates are thermally processed at high temperature, cooled, and filled in a presterilized bag by using sterile filling equipment. Before thermal treatment (sterilization), air entrapped in the pulp during different processing steps is expelled by a de-aeration operation.

Certain regulation govern the manufacturing of fruit concentrates and their use in food  products.

It has been recommended that beverages with fruit juice quantity below 10 % but not less than 5 %, and 2.5 % in case of lime or lemon, should be called carbonated  beverage  with fruit juice . This is part of the 11 th amendment of the food safety and standard’s (Food products standards of Food Additives)regulation,2016.

The rising demand for beverage and bakery products among consumers is the major driver for the growth of global juice concentrates market. The increasing adoption of vegetable and fruit juices as an alternative to aerated drinks by health-conscious consumers is expected to drive the growth of global juice concentrates market. The rapid growth of natural sweeteners market is expected to boost the growth of global juice concentrates market. The increasing demand for juice concentrates in the beverage industry and as the sugar substitute in bakery products industry is anticipated to propel the growth of global juice concentrates market. However, the increasing awareness regarding ill-effects of excess consumption of fructose in juice concentrates might hamper the growth of global juice concentrates market. 

The global juice concentrates market can be divided into seven regions, namely North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific Excluding Japan (APEJ), Japan and Middle East and Africa (MEA). North America and Western Europe accounts for major share in global juice concentrates market. The increasing adoption of healthy convenience food products among consumers is expected to drive the growth of juice concentrates market in the region. The technological advancements in food processing industry and agriculture industry is expected to contribute to the growth of juice concentrates market in these regions.

APEJ juice concentrates market is anticipated to project high CAGR during the forecast period. This is attributed to the high population and rapid growth of food industry in the region. The region also accounts for major share in fruit and vegetable cultivation, which is expected to boost the growth of juices concentrates market in the region.