You may have heard of hot fill for beverages, but do you know what the benefits are and why it is so widely used today?
Hot fill is a process of choice for many natural juices and beverages as it eliminates the need for chemicals and other preservatives as the nutritional values and shelf life of the beverage is maintained.
With consumers increasingly aware of the risks that the preservatives and chemicals may pose, hot filling process has become the first choice. This is because the method is relatively simple.
Hot fill is generally suitable for juice tea, sports drinks, flavored waters, fruit and vegetable drinks with pH level of <4.5.
It is important to mention that the juice tea hot filling machine is pivotal in the hot filling process.
Now, let’s look at the general hot filling processes for a wide range of beverages.
The hot filling process
The hot fill process involves multiple steps, each step essential to maximize the benefits of short fill time and the longest preservative-free shelf life.
1. The liquid is cooled to around 180 to 185 F (82-85 C) and filled into the dispenser. In some cases, nitrogen is introduced into the cap space (the empty space between the liquid and the rim) to remove oxygen to prevent oxidation. The closure or cap is then applied immediately. This process sterilizes the inside surface of the container.
2. Heating and pasteurization of the beverage to optimum temperature for hot fill. This is done between 190 to 203 F in a heat exchanger for about 15 - 30 seconds. This process normally kills all the microorganisms in the liquid.
3. For the bottle to cool quickly, it is taken to a cooling station. This could be a shower or a water bath. This is done to preserve the nutritional properties and the flavor of the product. With this cooling effect, a vacuum is created which helps to avoid the growth of microorganisms.
4. The container or bottle is dried and the decoration label is applied.
Bottle options when it comes to filling hot
It is important to note that not all bottles are compatible for hot fill.
The bottles must be made of a plastic resin that can withstand hot fill temperatures, they are generally known as "set-Heat PET".
In summary, hot fill is a good choice for many tea drinks, vegetable and fruit juices, water. This is because it provides a better option than the conventional preservatives. The good thing is that it preserves product shelf life at room temperature for a long time.
Innovation and the highest technology have made it possible to create a new material for hot packaging that can withstand up to 100ºC without fear that the packaging will deform or the product will lose any of its properties.
Do you need a juice tea hot filling machine? We supply a wide range of standard and top quality machines to serve you all your beverage production and packaging needs. Contact us today!