Consumer tastes and preferences for beverages are evolving toward a greater emphasis on health, reshaping beverage supply chains. A rising affinity for lower alcohol content, natural ingredients, sugar-free, or vitamin-rich drinks is observed. Consumers are seeking out flavourful alternatives such as alcohol-free beer, fruity drinks, protein shakes, and soft drinks. With all these demands considered, high-level challenges in formulation remain in the beverage industry.
As a result, beverage companies must meet the needs of the evolving consumer-led industry and adapt quickly to consumer habits. Improving the homogeneity and quality of high-demand beverages. Beverage companies are therefore compelled to evaluate and innovate their process from bottling to the consumer.
Formulaction provides solutions and products that can help companies achieve the highest quality. Specifically, Formulaction offers solutions to develop, optimize and control the stability, homogeneity, and shelf-life of drinks and beverages.
One of the is evaluating healthier weighting agent alternatives to stabilize beverage emulsions. Finished beverages like fruit juices are made by diluting concentrated beverage emulsions with weighting agents like brominated vegetable oil (BVO), leading to very unstable dilutions.
By removing classical weighting agents, manufacturers are working to stop the deterioration process of unstable dilutions, which create a ring formation around the neck of the beverage container, also known as creaming. The process of ring formation is a powerful indicator of beverage emulsion stability. Formulaction proposes a method to assess the efficiency of a new natural weighting agent and find an optimum concentration that delays deterioration and formation of the ring, improving ring formation kinetics.
For the purposes of this article, we focus on vegetable oil and studies of this healthier weighting agent, which also resulted in a final ring size comparable to the currently used BVO weighting agent, making it an effective and suitable alternative. These results from measurements with Turbiscan SMLS technology provide a solution for stabilizing beverages. The method proposed by Formulaction helps reduce the time needed to evaluate shelf life and phenomena by months (up to 200x faster than standard methods).
Precise shelf-life determination, specifically within the booming market of THC-Infused beverages, is being addressed by Formulaction as well. The shelf-life of these beverages is subject to the destabilization of oil, which in turn affects the potency of aging THC-infused drinks. The formulaction method was used to perform long-term monitoring of THC-infused beverage stability.
Ultimately, these studies assessed volume fraction kinetics and quantified the destabilization of THC-infused beverages, providing evidence of the high stability of samples over a diverse set of temperatures and concentrations. This innovative method expands how THC-infused beverages can be studied and eliminates errors or inconsistencies from traditional invasive measurement procedures.
Clarification of beverages like wine & beer is also crucial for ensuring quality production. In collaboration with the French Institute of Wine Research, Formulaction conducted a comparative evaluation of the efficiency of two vegetal proteins used to clarify red wine. These fining agents are essential to encourage the sedimentation of particles and reduce the number of filtration cycles needed to achieve a wine’s desired brightness and stability. The study found the optimal vegetable protein and concentration for wine fining by using Turbiscan technology, which allows for the quantification of migration rates and determination of sediment layer height. While milk and vegetable milk are not a topic for this article, it is important to note the diverse applications beverage research has on the industry and its many drinks as a whole.
This non-invasive evaluation of protein efficiency for wine clarification holds promise for high-quality wine producers, showing that a medium concentration fining agent initiates sedimentation sooner and the sediment layer thickness is comparable to that of a high concentration agent.
Regarding soft drinks, Formulaction works with both concentrated and diluted samples. One of the main problems with soft drink formulation is the ‘stabilizers’ available for food-grade drinks. Two primary stabilizers, including Arabic gum, are natural and therefore composition depends on harvest quality and weather. As innovation progresses, alternatives are being considered, though these have yet to meet the effectiveness of the gum. Formulaction is working to address these challenges using advanced technology and research methods.
Improvements to beverage clarification are not limited to wine and soft drinks. Using Turbiscan technology, Formulaction conducted experiments to compare the effects of temperature on the rate of wort clarification that is key in the beer-making process. Heat allows impurities to coagulate on the wort, a sweet liquid from malt. The experiments supported the parallel relationship between increased temperature and increased rate of clarification, an important step in determining the sediment formation speed in beer.
Formulaction can best serve beverage companies through their innovative research that contributed to the development of relevant methods and technologies to address the challenging mercurial nature of the beverage industry. Turbiscan is a valuable asset to scientists in beverage research because it saves time, especially for ring formation. Conventional visual methods took up to six months, while with Turbiscan, the time is cut down to twelve hours which significantly improves process efficiency.
These studies solve practical challenges of stability and clarification that beverage companies face today, ensuring high-quality drink production that caters to a wide range of customer needs and preferences. From stabilizing beverage emulsions through avoiding ring formation and evaluating protein efficiency for wine clarification, to studying temperature in the beer-making process and determining the shelf life of THC-infused drinks, Formulaction remains at the forefront of invention and meeting consumer demands.