Beverage preservatives: A vital piece of the beverage industry

    Working in the beverage industry, have you ever heard about the term: “preservatives”?

    • If not, you lack an essential piece of industrial information about a dominant substance that directly impacts your drink’s quality and shelf life.
    • If yes, how much confidence do you have to state about preservatives? Whether your knowledge is adequate to make benefits for your business?

    Beverage preservatives cannot be a strange terminology for most people. It is not also challenging to find a blog or a page on the Internet writing or mentioning preservatives. However, due to this abundance, you can have difficulty generalizing and investigating the most basic concepts of beverage topics.

    Among the two answers mentioned above, this article will offer you the missing information about beverage preservatives. It will give you the easiest way to understand its definition, popularly used types, approach, and outstanding examples.

    What is beverage preservation?

    The general definition of beverage preservation

    People preserve their drink for better beverage shelf life
    People preserve their drink for better beverage shelf life

    Since the global population is increasing day by day, the demand for beverages is also growing. To be more specific, the beverage industry should meet the standard of high quality, massive production and longer shelf life for many different purposes.

    Preservation, in general, means the method to which people apply to “preserve” their property. It can be food, beverage, cosmetics, wood or other products.

    2 critical methods for beverage preservation

    There are two main ways for preservation with a beverage: physical and chemical.

    1. Physical preservation

    It is the process of preserving nature without the intervention of any substance or chemical impacts. Below are three standard methods of physical preservation:

    • Drying: using the sun or geothermal heat to dry the ingredients of beverages. By rejecting the humidity from the substances, the shelf life of the drink can also be increased. Nowadays, apart from natural heat, people can create more dry by advanced electronic machines but the mechanism.
    • Fermenting: Beer is the most typical beverage example of this method. With unique fermentation from grain, this drink can have a longer time for consistent quality with a distinctive taste.
    • Refrigeration process: This process is often implemented in a fridge with a 0-celsius degree or lower temperature. Like the drying method, refrigeration will inhibit the development of bacteria or viruses. Thanks to that, the shelf life of the beverages.
    Beer is the most typical beverage example of physical preservation
    Beer is the most typical beverage example of physical preservation

    Apart from these popular methods above, people also have taken some other ways such as canning, dehydration, pasteurization, or Ionizing Irradiation.

    • Chemical preservation

    While physical preservation has no effects on changing the features, as the name suggests, chemical methods are based on the chemical results among various substances. In the beverage industry, people use preservatives to preserve the drinks. It includes diversified kinds, categories by source or mechanism of action. To be more specific, this article only focuses on the more common classification of preservative sources.

    Chemical preservatives are based on the chemical effects of various substances.
    Chemical preservatives are based on the chemical effects of various substances.

    Many schools of thought stated that physical methods seem safer for consumers’ health through few changes in beverage components. The physical can also keep the original taste better in terms of both flavors and nutrition.

    However, physical approaches spend much more time and effort than chemical approaches. Moreover, some physical methods like heating and cooling cannot eliminate the harmful microorganisms from the beverage. In other words, physical preservation sometimes is less effective compared to chemical ones.

    Beverage preservatives

    In short, beverage preservatives can be defined as a chemical substance manually added to the drinks to prevent decomposition. They can be more decisive in reducing the undesirable chemical changes and controlling the beverage from becoming toxic.

    In the beverage industry, the preservative is an unmissable ingredient of each can of drink and serves various drink types. With the development of production technologies, preservatives are also improved to be appropriate for each specific type of beverage and its characteristics.

    Beverage preservatives can be added to the drinks to prevent decomposition
    Beverage preservatives can be added to the drinks to prevent decomposition

    A long history of traditional preservatives

    Back to the history of the beverage’s ancient period, it can be seen that the preservation demand was low. During this time, people did not focus on storing food and beverages. They drank water from streams, rivers and did not need other nutritional drinks.

    It was not until civilization in the 18th century that there was a significant change in the human’s consciousness about healthier life. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, the beverage industry witnessed a revolution in preservatives inventory. By contrast, beverage preservation was straightforward and mainly a traditional physical method. It could be pickling, storage, sugaring, drying or curing.

    In 1858, a man found out the heat could kill microbes, preventing beverages from undesirable flavors. Mainly, beverage preservatives were explored and used in the late 1900s with the popularity in the use of the 20th century.

    A long history of traditional preservatives
    A long history of traditional preservatives

    Essential approach of preservation

    With the development of preservation techniques for many decades, the approach to preservation has been changed dramatically. The preservation process is more and more optimal with a high level of effectiveness and efficiency.

    Nevertheless, the beverage preservatives still keep the constant aim for almost preservation approaches. In other words, the final goal is extending the shelf life of drinks, including:

    • Removal of water or humidity
    • Controlling temperature
    • Controlling of pH index
    • Prevent undesirable growth of microorganisms

    Drinks industry: How necessary preservatives are

    It can deny that preservatives bring convenience for the customers and more profit margin for the beverage entrepreneurs.

    But why?

    Beverage preservatives are also known as additives. The first and foremost function of these chemicals is to lengthen the shelf life of drinks, enhance quality, maintain their nutrition at the same time.

    By creating an ideal environment that is unwelcome bacteria and microorganisms, preservatives play an essential role in keeping the natural characteristics of the beverage. Not only protective functions, but these chemicals can also be an effective incentive in increasing the taste and the flavor of this beverage.

    Preservatives improve the taste of the beverage
    Preservatives improve the taste of the beverage

    What is the good news for your health?

    Because the beverage preservatives make sure, the quality of products expands the life span of beverage stuff. Even for a long time, this is a lucky point for human health. Ensuring the quality of the drinks also means ensuring our health.

    Regardless of the direct effects on consumers’ health, preservatives create an invisible promotion for the beverage market growth, such as:

    • Reduced wastage: Longer shelf life defines the longer time for usage. As a result, there are fewer leftover drinks due to the expiration. Fortunately, it will decrease the wastes and improve the environmental status
    • Enhanced supply: By enhancing the storage procedure, the preservatives will stabilize the supply chain. Thereby, these chemicals will decrease the pressure on production.
    • Keeping the drinks price affordable: Because of the increased supply and according to the harmonious relationship between demand and supply, the cost of beverages will be reasonable.
    Reinforce the importance of beverage preservatives by detailed objectives and principles
    Reinforce the importance of beverage preservatives by detailed objectives and principles

    Looking at the detailed diagram above, you can better understand the objectives and principles of beverage preservatives. As can be seen, both of them closely cooperate to reinforce the importance of preservatives for the drink industry.

    2 well-defined types of beverage preservatives

    As a chemical added to beverages, preservatives have a different way to expand drinks’ life span, depending on the sources. More specifically, beverage preservatives are divided into two primary kinds. Both of them ultimately the effects of the chemicals to preserve the beverage. Derived from various components, they can be made from natural or synthetic ingredients.

    Synthetic preservatives in the beverage industry

    Generally, synthetic preservatives are the artificial chemicals that beverage manufacturers add to their products and generate some chemical effects. Different from food preservatives, this synthetic is added directly to the drink’s medication. It will result in some transformation of various substances to finish making a longer shelf life.

    The majority of synthetic preservatives originate from acids with the leading function of raising the acidity of the beverages, which can kill microorganisms. As usual, these chemicals can be in the form of powder or solid.

    Synthetic preservatives in the beverage industry
    Synthetic preservatives in the beverage industry

    Most of the synthetic preservatives are safe, but several have some side effects causing potentially threatening health. With some typical substances, artificial preservatives would cause health problems such as allegiance.

    Since the higher public awareness of healthy life, synthetic preservatives are not much preferred. Instead of that, many beverage manufacturers have been converting from synthetic chemicals to another alternative. It is called natural preservatives, with more beneficial effects and avoiding specific health problems.

    Natural preservatives in the beverage industry

    As mentioned above, natural preservations are considered the best solution for preserving the beverage. By solving the disadvantages of synthetic preservatives, these chemicals can quickly satisfy two requirements of a suitable preservative:

    • Express the preservation features: lengthen the shelf life of drinks, maintain the taste
    • Minimize the destructive effects of preservatives on consumers’ health

    We can see natural preservatives as additives (pure or specific extracts) extracted from wild plants. They tend to be excellent in controlling microbial growth by some biological, chemical effects. With safe ingredients from the environment, natural beverage preservatives will decrease foodborne infections and reduce microbial spoilage.

    Natural preservatives as additives extracted from natural plants
    Natural preservatives as additives extracted from natural plants

    Top 5 natural preservatives in the beverage industry

    With the outstanding benefits that natural preservatives bring to the beverage industry, they are becoming more and more popular, even from the beginning stage of beverage preservation. To provide you a deeper understanding of natural beverage preservatives, we would like to list the five most popular ones, assessing their availability and efficiency.

    Let’s check!

    Rosemary extract

    Rosemary is also called Salvia Rosmarinus, a plant that is native to Asia and the Mediterranean. Their leaves are similar to hemlock needles, with the extract is a practical, versatile product for beverage preservation.

    According to Nutritional Outlook, 2016, Riazi explained that Rosemary extracts could give natural antioxidant functionality, protecting lipid peroxidation of oils and unsaturated fats. In particular, Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid as one of the most promising preservative ingredients in the food and beverage industry. Thanks to this substance, they can prevent rancidity and keep the stability of color and taste for a wide variety of beverages.

    The natural preservative in the beverage industry - Rosemary extraction
    The natural preservative in the beverage industry – Rosemary extraction

    Combination products

    Natural preservatives are suitable; the combination of them is better. Combining and blending the multiple plant extract into a mixture can create a more robust and unique formulation over single-source preservatives. The familiar combination of plants is rosemary, green tea and acerola. The researchers found that each of them always has a shortcoming that others can refill among these ingredients.

    Combining the plant extracts can create a more powerful natural preservative
    Combining the plant extracts can create a more powerful natural preservative

    Buffered vinegar

    Another natural ingredient creating the preservative is buffered vinegar with a label-friendly choice for the beverage industry. The most substantial role of buffed vinegar is to focus on Listeria monocytogenes- one of the most dangerous bacteria causing beverage damage. From that, this vinegar can prevent their growth in drinks.
    It also expands the beverage shelf life without harm or negative impacts on flavors and contained nutritions. Buffered vinegar can be seen as an optimal solution for alternating synthetic preservatives.

    Salt and sugar

    Salt and sugar are the most available beverage preservative
    Salt and sugar are the most available beverage preservative

    As we all know, sugar and salt are two substances that you can find in the kitchen, on most of the food and beverages that people intake daily. In the beverage industry, they are also added to the drink to improve the taste and extend the shelf life. Salt and sugar both can maintain taste, aroma and the drink itself for an increased period undamaged.

    As we all know, sugar and salt are two substances that you can find in the kitchen, on most of the food and beverages that people intake daily. In the beverage industry, they are also added to the drink to improve the taste and extend the shelf life.

    The citric acid

    Citric acid is the last name on the good examples list of natural beverage preservatives. They are often extracted from citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, pomelos, grapefruits, and limes. Significantly, citric acid will gain the best performance of preservation at room temperature. With 4% of this acid, the beverage can keep its standard quality for approximately seven days.

    Conclusion

    All in all, this article gives you a vital understanding of beverage preservatives, including their basic concepts, approaches and some main types based on sources. As the beverage industry continues its prosperity in the future, demand for preservatives to improve drink quality will increase.
    By summarizing the necessary information about preservatives, especially in the beverage industry, we can gain more profound knowledge about preservatives. It is one of the critical factors in deciding the products’ quality and bringing you closer to becoming the leading beverage distributor.

    Tan Do is a global beverage ODM/OEM manufacturer and supplier located in Vietnam. Since 1996, we have built trust and credibility not only throughout Vietnam but also in many parts of the world. Leveraging state-of-the-art technology, we have crafted thousands of products that align with ISO, HACCP, HALAL, FDA, and many other standards.

    Lilian Nguyen
    Hi! I'm Lilian Nguyen. I'm an expert in OEM, ODM, private label beverage industry with 8 years of experience. I believe that it is crucial for companies to focus on the benefits which the product provides to their target customer and what does it mean to the community. When i am not working, i run a blog on making healthy snacks & drinks and join in a hiking club. I'm an expert in the beverage industry invited by Tan Do Beverage to work. I'm in charge of publishing articles, research articles on the beverage industry or anything healthy to help readers have a better view of what they are looking to do, prepare to do or are doing related to the beverage industry. Email: lilian.nguyen@tdfood.com.vn

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