Fruit juices: The inside track

Fruit juice is a healthy drink that can provide you with one of your five a day. It’s important to know exactly what is considered a fruit juice and how these drinks are produced, stored and regulated.

Fruit juices

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What is fruit juice?

Drinks that can be described as fruit juices are those that are made solely with the flesh or even the whole of the fruit without the addition of extras such as sugars and sweeteners, preservatives or anything else that could colour or flavour the juice further. The Fruit Juices & Nectars Regulations 2013 provides government legislation regarding the production and labelling of fruit juices to be sold in the UK.

Understanding the different types of juice available

Fruit juice labelling can be confusing. Just what do “from concentrate” and “not from concentrate” actually mean?

In basic terms, “from concentrate” describes the process in which water is extracted from the juice by evaporation in the country of origin to produce a concentrated juice which is then frozen and shipped to where it will be sold. It will then be rehydrated to produce the juice and packed for sale.

“Not from concentrate” means that after the juice has been extracted from the fruit in the country in which it is produced, it is pasteurised and either chilled or frozen and then sent to be packed and sold.

When a fruit juice is labelled “freshly squeezed”, it means that the juice is extracted from the fruit and served straight away.

What about storage and shelf life?

Each way of producing fruit juice has its pros and cons in terms of taste, cost, storage and transportation. Freshly squeezed juice may offer great taste and freshness, but it can’t be stored for long and therefore transportation is also an issue. If juice is required en masse, a draught soft drink supplier such as Empire UK might supply juice from concentrate that can then be rehydrated to produce juice, allowing for easier transportation and storage.

When it comes to shelf life, long-life juices that have been frozen and pasteurised can keep unchilled for up to a year as long as the packaging is sealed. Short-life juices need to be chilled and should be used within a month, while freshly squeezed juice must be chilled and used within two weeks.

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