Beverages are familiar drinks that we still use every day. In addition to the sweet taste and attractive aroma, soft drinks are also impressive by their natural flavor and fantastic gas bubbles (for carbonated soft drinks). However, not all of us fully understand the steps in the beverage production cycle. Therefore, we will analyze technologies used in the beverage production process and clarify some soft drink production process issues through the article below.
The production process of drinks products include some key steps
Materials preparation in beverage production
Have you ever been curious about the main ingredient in soft drink bottles? Have you ever accidentally read the annotation information on a product but still do not understand what elements they include? To produce delicious beverage bottles, the manufacturer must prepare the initial materials, typically including:
- Fresh fruits: Most of the freshwater processing plants are located in the vicinity of the fruit-growing area. It ensures that the fruits can be processed as soon as possible after harvest, as high temperatures quickly affect their quality. On the other hand, certain types of fruit can produce drinks in long-term storage and long-distance transportation.
- Water: Water is the primary raw material for production. Water used in the beverage industry is usually pure water by different degrees depending on water treatment technology and equipment. If not, drink products will be cloudy, sediment, or contaminated with microorganisms.
- Carbon dioxide: One of the other critical ingredients for beverage production is carbon dioxide. Carbonated water products account for 94% of the world beverage market share. Carbon dioxide has the role of adding sparkle and acting as a mild preservative. This is an inert, non-toxic gas that is relatively cheap and easy to liquefy, making it well suited for use in soft drinks.
- Sugar: In addition, sugar is also one of the main ingredients in soft drinks, accounting for 7-12% of a beverage bottle. Sugar can be used in dry or liquid form, adding sweetness to drinking products, bringing a sense of deliciousness. Sugar also helps balance flavors and acidity.
- Flavorings: Most soft drinks have artificial flavorings with different levels to create a natural-like aroma, creating a pleasant feeling. There are two levels of flavorings: industrial grade (for example, lavender laundry detergent) and food-grade flavoring. Industrial flavorings often contain impurities and cannot be used for food production.
- Preservatives: Some preservatives are added to soft drinks to prevent microbial growth and prevent spoilage of beverage products. According to courtesy, soft drink manufacturers have been adding natural additives to their products since the 1980s to enhance the product’s taste and meet the increasing requirements of customers about health.
The materials prepared for the production of the solution must go through a clean sterilization stage.
Beverage production process
The technology or process of producing soft drinks of the companies has almost no difference. The steps in the beverage manufacturing process include:
Clarification and Prefiltration
The cleanliness of the water has a significant impact on the quality of the beverage bottles. Dirt, bacteria, etc., can reduce the taste of the product and cause the product to spoil quickly. Impurities in the water are removed through coagulation, filtration, and chlorination. A viscous precipitate or precipitate (ferrous sulfate or aluminum sulfate) is mixed into the water. The floc absorbed the suspended particles, turning them more prominent and easier to catch in the filters. It is also necessary to adjust the alkalinity to achieve the desired pH level.
The water is then poured through a sand filter to remove any remaining impurities. Bacteria and organic compounds can damage the color or taste of water, so water disinfection is essential. Water is pumped into a tank containing the same small amount of chlorine. Until the reaction is complete, the chlorinated water is stored in the tank for about 2 hours. Next, the activated carbon filter will have the same task as the sand filter to remove chlorine in the water and remove residual organic matter.
In addition, businesses can apply membranes to the beverage production process, helping to ensure the complete removal of particles and microorganisms. The final membrane filter effectively removes 99 to 100% of unwanted microbial content and is ideal as a microbial barrier in a multi-barrier process.
The final filtration is a must step before all of the ingredients are mixed
Next, the flavoring components, color and flavor modifiers are dissolved into the exact solution to create a specific flavor for the beverage product. Each ingredient is transferred to the tank in batches and carefully mixed.
The syrup will be removed from the cooking pot and passed through a filter to remove impurities during the beverage production process. In addition, the physical impurities that may appear in the sugar and water raw materials can also be removed. Syrup sterilization can be carried out under the influence of ultraviolet radiation or rapid pasteurization. In particular, fruit syrup pasteurization is a must.
Air is one of the potential sources of pollution in your manufacturing environment. Contaminated air used in your process threatens product quality and reduces its shelf life. CO2 or any other gas must be free from particles and microorganisms.
- CO2 injection: Carbonization is the step of adding carbon dioxide to the drink (for carbonated beverage products).
- CO2 Adjustment: This is a specific step in the processing of fermented products such as beer. The fermentation and propagation stages of yeast have produced a certain amount of carbon dioxide. The added carbon dioxide must then be adjusted appropriately to ensure a quality product.
- Bottle blower: This process is carried out in any beverage production process that uses PET bottles. Sterile Air/Nitrogen filter pasteurizes air quality, turning preforms into final PET bottles.
- Bottle filter: The air filtration method can be applied in the filling process of carbonated drinks. It is necessary to pressure the filler bowl before the filling process. The gas used in the filtering bottle process must also be microbiologically stable.
Once finished, the product is filled into the container with a high flow rate. The product is then sealed immediately with pressure caps made of tin or steel. Typically, these caps have corrugated, twisted or pulled edges to secure the finished product.
After being packaged, beverage products are refrigerated. They will be put in a cold room before being labeled to avoid condensation. The product is then labeled on the body of bottles. The label will provide information about the brand, ingredients, expiry date, and product use.
These labels can be made of paper or plastic film. For canned soft drinks, product information is pre-printed on cans before filling.
Beverage packaging should contain important information related to ingredients, use date, producers, etc,
Quality control during beverage production
The first rule for producing drinks is to test raw materials before mixing with other ingredients. In addition, the disinfection of all tanks, pumps, and tanks is also strictly monitored. For beverages contained in cans, cans must be made of tin-coated aluminum alloy or low-carbon steel to prevent corrosion when in contact with the liquid inside.
In addition, as mentioned above, water quality is also carefully monitored, complying with strict quality standards for permissible dissolved solids and alkalinity. The source of water used is sterilized and clean, which also creates favorable conditions for the production process, and does not negatively affect the taste and color of the drink.
In addition, low sugar quality also affects the final product. Sugar that is not carefully selected will create residue and spoil products. The sugar used in beverage products must be handled carefully in a dry and sterilized environment to avoid this situation.
To control the quality of beverages, several standards have been set by many beverage agencies and associations worldwide. Specifically:
- Hygiene checks: ensure that the steps in your beverage production process comply with national and international hygiene standards.
- Good manufacturing practices checks: ensure safety throughout your beverage supply chain.
- Ethical checks: especially regard food and beverage ingredients sourced abroad and any instances of labor abuse in your supply chain.
Furthermore, beverage manufacturers also make recommendations regarding specific storage conditions to retailers. In addition, the shelf life of soft drinks is also limited for consumers to ensure maximum product quality.
Quality and safety are the number one priority of beverage products before they are released into the market.
In summary, the above article has shared in detail each specific stage in the normal beverage production. For each step, the manufacturer needs to pay attention to many factors, the most important being the safety and quality of the product before putting it on the market. These are also the problems that many newbies in the beverage market encounter many obstacles..