Since the late 1970’s, Aseptic Not-From-Concentrate Orange Juice (NFCOJ) has been successfully stored in large refrigerated aseptic storage tanks. Aseptic tanks have evolved from 280,000 gallons in volume to now in excess of 1.8 million gallons each. The total bulk storage capacity in Florida has grown to approximately 280 millions of gallons and continues to grow with new installations occurring each year at some facilities. Worldwide, the market is expanding into Brazil, Spain, and markets that are beginning to receive juice shipped in bulk on snips. The aseptic storage methods have been accepted in Brazil and Europe, and aseptic transfer of the juice is occurring via specially outfitted aseptic tanker vessels from Brazil to the US and Europe.

The consumer’s demand for NFCOJ has grown steadily throughout these years, and the suppliers of consumer packaged orange juice have developed special processes and methods to maximize the quality and flavor of the juices sent to the market. Fresh juice, light pasteurization, and flavor enhanced products are just some of these methods resulting in very high quality juice availability. Also, cost and price are always under assault, and the juice suppliers are always looking for an edge. Recently, the flavor enhancement method has come under scrutiny by the FDA, and the industry is being reminded that all added flavors must be made from naturally occurring orange derivatives or must be labeled appropriately: such as “with natural (other fruit) flavors” or “with artificial flavors,” both of which may have an undesirable impact on the market perception of the juice quality.

At this same time, as the bulk storage technology of NFCOJ has matured in the past 25 years, some processors who package their own juice are investing in special aseptic transfer methods from the aseptic bulk storage tanks without the need to re-pasteurize the juice prior to packaging. Their goal is to provide the highest quality juice to the consumer, and to minimize or eliminate the need to add expensive and special flavor packs to the juice. This is being done commercially in Florida and Spain.

This paper explores these methods of aseptic juice transfer direct to packaging and the aseptic addition of natural or otherwise desired and labeled ingredients, and their potential impact on the quality of the juice.

Paper published with permission.