Sustainability is one of the watchwords of our times, with ever-increasing numbers of consumers – and indeed regulatory bodies – looking for greater action from food and drink companies. As a global business that is part of the supply chain, fruit juice is of course no exception, so how do juice processing companies become more sustainable?
JBT offers a number of options, but one of the most successful and popular is the T.A.S.T.E. Evaporator (Thermally Accelerated Short Time Evaporator), developed originally for the concentration of citrus juices.
The T.A.S.T.E. Evaporator provides progressive pre-heating and stabilization of juice, aroma boil-off at intermediate temperatures for aroma recovery and final pasteurization on the fly before entering the First Effect (evaporation using boiler live steam). Available worldwide, the T.A.S.T.E. Evaporator – which produces concentrate by removing water from juice – delivers significant energy savings, thanks to its functional, effective design.
First invented by Ralph W. Cook in the early 1960s at Cook Machinery, a company – now run by John T. Cook – which has enjoyed a long-close working relationship with JBT for decades, the T.A.S.T.E. Evaporator conserves the organoleptic properties of the juice by extracting flavor and aroma in addition to water-free juice, producing a concentrate from which juice can be reconstituted being as close as possible to fresh orange juice in terms of appearance, aroma and taste. As a matter of fact, the built-in Aroma Recovery System (A.R.S.) of the T.A.S.T.E Evaporator has set a standard of quality for the industry.
Thanks to its design, the T.A.S.T.E. Evaporator can carry out processing very quickly, with minimum impact on the quality of the juice, explains JBT Global Citrus Processing Technical Manager, José Biot.
However, the system also has several, key sustainability benefits. Energy in form of extracted juice vapor is reused multiple times following initial evaporation, while the Evaporator’s vertical, stacked design – which can range from 15m-45m in height – means the minimum number of pumps is needed for all processes; both contribute to making the machine more efficient and energy-sustainable ensuring a good steam economy ratio (evaporation capacity vs live steam consumption).
The final stage of processing in the Evaporator – flash cooling – also has considerable sustainability benefits. By flash cooling the product to +13/+16 ºC before it is transferred in cold storage chambers (-18/-22 ºC), lower cooling is required to bring the juice down to the temperature of the storage area, making considerable energy savings in the process.
Separately, the byproducts recovered by the Evaporator – from the condensed aroma water phase and essence oil phase – can be used as key natural ingredients to reconstitute juice from concentrate, while water removed from the juice can be used for cleaning or treated for crop irrigation.
“Any juice or liquid in general, not just citrus juice, that is capable of being clarified is suitable for this kind of machine, meaning it can concentrate products such as coffee, aloe vera, pineapple, grape, berries and pear,” says Biot. “The low energy consumption and the additional freezing process enable customers to save time and money when the juice is transferred into cold storage chambers.”
Although the system originated in Florida, it can now be found across citrus-producing regions such as Brazil, Mexico, Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus), Israel, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco. It is also employed as pre-evaporator by tomato processors in Mexico and China, pineapple producers in Indonesia, Kenya and Costa Rica, and coffee companies in India.