Sensitive < 4.5 PH beverages are first pasteurized to neutralize the microbiological state. From the pasteurizer, the products are hot filled, capped, then turned on the side which in turn sterilizes the cap, killing unwanted organisms. Immediately after this step, the bottles are rapidly cooled down by water (steam, shower, etc) to ensure the product and vitamin integrity. Ambient stable and extended shelf life ranges between 6 - 12 months. The exact shelf life duration is determined by the oxygen barrier sensitivity of the beverage, as well as, the size and type of the beverage bottle and storage conditions. The final result is comparable to aseptic processing and packaging.
Orange juice drinks and Apple juice drinks alike will benefit from the simplicity and effectiveness of the hot filling drinks process
The hot fill process offers significant competitive advantages for <4.5 PH sensitive beverages such as: juices, nectars, vegetable juices, RTD teas, flavored waters, sports and isotonic drinks. It provides these products with extended shelf life, as well as, the flexibility of economically filling shorter runs. The shorter and more flexible production runs using hot fill technology are possible due to the relatively simple process. The alternative, aseptic filling, is much more costly and complex.
In the past, and still somewhat today, ambient beverages were bottled using simple lines that included additives for product conservation. However, consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious, and are demanding additive or preservative free extended shelf-life ambient products. This leaves only two solutions, either hot filling or aseptic technologies.
Controlling the microbiological aspect of filling sensitive beverages is a more economical and simpler process when using hot filling verses aseptic technology. Aseptic requires a larger capital investment, and higher running costs. Beverage hot filling is a mature and proven technology, which has successfully delivered billions of liters of extended shelf-life sensitive beverages to consumers for decades in many packaging formats. The industry is well positioned to continue serving consumers with the introduction and the evolution of new environmentally friendly hot fill adapted packaging formats like the Aisacan™ Hot fill bottle.