Fruit juices are produced and consumed for their refreshing character and nutritional qualities being rich in vitamins and minerals and having regulatory functions to the body systems; such as argumentation of alkaline reserve of the blood and proper functioning of blood vessels, including capillary, permeability and fragility as a result of contained flavoring. Juices also increase body retention of calcium, magnesium, nitrogen and are also good sources of quick energy. These qualities need to be maximized in technologies used to process fruit juices.
Juice is generally defined as liquid extracted from the fruit, although many fruit juices are the results of expressing the liquid from the whole or cut fruit. There are some fruits where the distinction is not so apparent, e.g. fruits like mango, apple and banana when squeezed yields little or no juice; rather flesh is obtained which when will result in a dense puree and directly cannot be consumed as drink. Whereas in case of lemon, expressed fluid cannot be called juice, it is too sour to consume and can only be used as juice when diluted with sugar and water.
For commercial purposes, procedure involved in juice manufacturing varies from fruit to fruit. Fruit juice making process starts from fruit washing, drying, skin removing (normally for citrus fruits i.e. orange), deseeding, pulp macerating, pressing, pasteurizing and storage which is then used for producing fruit juices. The process takes place using fruit processing machinery and during the process, preservatives are also added in order to avoid microbial growth and increasing shelf life.
For industrial scale manufacturing of fruit juice, pulp is used which is available round the year; on the other hand, fresh fruits are also being used for 100% pure juice production. However, based on our discussions with industry experts, we understand that business viability could be a question mark when fruit juice business starts with fresh fruits processing.
In Pakistan, people generally prefer fresh fruit juice which is extracted directly from the fresh fruit by using simple equipment like blender or squeezing machine. This type of micro scale commercial setups can be seen in mega cities and towns as an unorganized sector. However, preserved juices using tetra packs and other packaging forms and intended for direct consumption are obtained by the mechanical process from ripe fruits and subsequently preserved exclusively by physical means. The juice may be turbid or clear. The juice may have been concentrated and later reconstituted with water suitable for the purpose of maintaining the essential composition and quality factors of the juice. Refer to Fruit Juices in Pakistan to understand what types of juices are available.
It is absolutely necessary for someone starting a juice manufacturing operation to be familiar with the regulations and requirements of the market. For commercial purposes, it is important to define the differences (from other juice products) carefully and ensure that specifications and labeling are correct. There are circumstances where a 100 percent juice or puree product is impractical while dilution with other juices and/or water and sweeteners are practical, as long as the products are correctly identified. Water, sugar, organic acids and low cost bulk juices are much cheaper than higher value fruit solids. Thus, unlabeled dilution and adulteration practices are common in the market.
Following are the main types of fruit drinks in Pakistan:
- Sport or isotonnesic beverages
- Energy beverages
- Nutraceutical beverages
- Herbal beverages
- Smart beverages
- Fun beverages
Sport or Isotonnesic Beverages
These products are designed to replace fluids and electrolytes and provide extra energy during periods of intense exercise. Typically they have a low content juice base of 5 to 10 percent juice, added levels of sucrose, glucose (less sweet).
These are designed to increase the consumers’ perception that they could have more energy either by increasing the levels of sugars in the beverage or having a stimulant like caffeine. These can be marketed to office workers in cities or to laborers who need additional energy during a long day.
This category is designed to provide healthful benefits beyond the calories they containand are aimed at reducing the risk of various diseases. These beverages can contain vitamin C from citrus, vitamin A from fruits or vegetable juices and a mixture of plant extracts that are believed by local consumers to promote good health.
These are similar to Nutraceutical drinks, but are made by adding herbs to a beverage. A word of caution is necessary here – while many of these herbs are safe at low levels of consumption they can become toxic at higher levels.
This popular group of beverages is believed to increase mental capacities on a short-term basis. Some of these drinks contain carbohydrates, such as glucose that is readily absorbed. Smart beverages may contain local herbs assumed to be effective for increasing mental capabilities.
This category of beverages is designed to have a maximum eye appeal and must taste very good. Some of these have suspended colored particles or have weird names that appeal to kids. Typically Fun beverages contain a minimal amount of juice, but a maximum amount of advertising and label hype.
Fruit Juice Production Process
Fruit juice production procedures involved in fruit juice manufacturing depending on what type of the juice the unit is going to make. For the purpose of this article, we propose the 17% pure fruit juice drink of Citrus fruit (Orange), Mango and Guava.
Production of fruit juices is a standardized process and type of technology depends on type of fruits, scale of operations and availability of investment financial resources. Initial preparatory processes for all fruits will be similar, as will be the last stages of juice/pasteurization section and packaging, although differences in handling juice composition arise in certain cases due to the nature of the fruit and percentage of pulp involved. Basically, preparation process of juices involves the following steps:
- Boiling of fruit pulp
- Homogenization of pulp
- Pulp Storage in Tank
- Sugar Hopper
- Pulp and ingredients mixing
- Syrup Storage in Tank
- Juice Pasteurization
- Juice Storage Tank
- Filling and Packaging
- Cooling and Storage
Pulp is shifted to the boiler where it is cooked and shifted to the homogenizer where blending follows the finishing of the pulp. Pulp is then stored in the pulp storage tank. Pulp is then supplied to the mixing tank in the desired quantity while in mixing tanks, any additives to the pulp are made at this stage before it is pumped to syrup storage tanks. Blended juice is then pumped through pasteurizer; where it is heated to 90oC to inactivate enzymes and living organism. After pasteurization the juice passes through final filtration, before loading it into a juice storage tank. Juice from the tank is ready for packaging.
The juice will be then packed in the quantities demanded by the market. Consumer packs as we have proposed for this article, will be in units of 250 ml tetra packs. Products will be stored in cool dry store before distribution.
Raw Material for Fruit Juice Production in Pakistan
Raw material required for manufacturing fruit juice are fruit pulp, citric acid, food color, sugar, preservatives and fruit flavors. Although, juice manufacturers use molasses to thicken the juice, this is not a good practice and therefore should be avoided. All raw materials are easily available in the local market, however, fruit pulp is considered to be the principal component of the high quality fruit juice, therefore, its continuous and within the required quantity availability will need some advance planning. (Refer to Pulp Production in Pakistan)
Fruit pulp could be purchased from open market or directly from pulp producers, however, it would be safe to sign a contract or negotiate with a pulp producer to insure the availability of pulp before the commencement of production operations. It is also observed that pulp prices fluctuate with the fruit prices and crop quality/quantity. Therefore, it would be a sane decision to firm up the pulp buying deal with the producer during the peak season of the fruit when it is available in low prices so that the unit could get into the value chain and get maximum discount and desired quantity.
Packaging of Fruit Juices in Pakistan
Packaging of processed foods has always been critical to decide, since health and safety matters have been of prime concern to all consumers who go for preserved food stuff. Fruit juice, being in liquid and drinkable form could be harmful for consumers’ health because of high probability of microbial growth and little shelf life. That is the primary reason why ‘tetra pack’ packaging got enormous popularity vis-à-vis other packaging materials i.e. tin pack, aluminum laminate pouch pack, glass bottles and plastic bottles.
Though materials like aluminum laminate pouch packs, bottles of glass and plastic and tin packs are also safe for packaging food stuff; however, the material cost, availability and comparable cost and similar related factors make it difficult to prefer them over tetra pack. In the following lines we have outlined our findings regarding different foodstuff packaging materials:
Aluminum Laminate Pouch Packs for Juices:
- It is not locally available and need to be imported.
- Juice manufacturer will have to import the material in minimum 3 ton quantity.
- Material for one 250ml pack will cost around 10 rupees, which is financially unfeasible.
- Machinery costs around 250 million Euros which when coupled with the raw material, appears to be very high.
Tin Packs for Juices:
- Locally available tin plates are not of good quality and food grade.
- Substandard tin plates reduce the shelf life of the product.
- Not safe for fruit juices
Glass or Plastic Bottles for Juices:
Plastic and glass bottles are not feasible in small serving packs due to high cost of material and huge distribution logistics requirement.
Fruit Juice Packaging Machinery in Pakistan
Machinery required for the processing of fruit and juice packaging is available both local and imported. Local packaging machinery reportedly give poor quality output especially for fruit juice packaging which is considered to be highly sophisticated and hygienic; hence it could not be done by using local machinery. However, pulp processing and juice production could be done on locally fabricated machinery. Following machinery will be required for setting up a fruit juice plant:
- Fruit Juice Pre-Packaging Production Line
- Fruit Juice Filling & Packaging Line
- Fruit Juice Cooling and Refrigeration Machinery
Shelf Life of Juices in Pakistan
Fruit juice shelf is a matter of high importance and should be given ample attention before getting into the course of juice production operations. It was observed that generally most of the juice packs are provided with their shelf life written very clearly; however, it was observed that a juice in 250ml or in small serving packs have shelf life of less then 6 months, whereas, 100% pure juices in large packs are available with longer shelf life from 6 months to 1 year. Shelf life mainly depends on the preservatives, their quality/quantity and the production process followed.
Machinery for Fruit Juice Factory in Pakistan
For the fruit juice production, packaging and storage both local and imported machinery can be used, however, for packaging it is proposed to use imported machinery rather than local machinery which is although a low cost option, yet do not provide good quality and quantity of output. On the other hand for juice production and processing machinery; local machinery fabricators use local and imported material and parts (available locally), and their performance is considered to be as good as of imported plant in quality and output. It will also help in reducing the fixed cost of the project. List of required machinery for fruit juice factory in Pakistan is given below:
- 2.5 Tons Boiler
- 7 Bar Air Compressor
- 1500 Liter Double Jacketed Pasteurizer
- 500 KG Sugar Hopper
- 2,000 Liter Syrup Storage Tank (316 Grade Stainless Steel)
- 500 L Mixing Tank with Scale Moderator
- 1500 Liter Juice Storage Tank
- 1000 Liter CIB Tank
- 1000 Liter Pulp Storage & Shifting Tanks
- 1/2 Cusec Turbine
- 2.5 Tons Fork Lifter (Second Hand)
- 200 Tray/hour Shrink Wrapping / Tray Making Machine
- Straw Applicator
- Imported Juice Packing Machine with capacity of 4,000 packs of 250 ml /hour
Financial Requirements for Fruit Juice Factory Setup in Pakistan
The project cost estimates for the proposed “Fruit Juice Business” have been formulated on the basis of discussions with industry stakeholders and experts. The projections cover the cost of land, machinery and equipment including office equipment, fixtures etc. Assumptions regarding plant and machinery have been provided, however, the specific assumptions relating to individual cost components are provided in the pre-feasibility study of fruit juice production business in Pakistan by SMEDA.