Beverage development is a continually changing manufacturing sector where dedicated entrepreneurs face various challenges such as product design and consumer needs. It is necessary to know the essential terms regarding the operation of these companies to achieve success in the beverage industry.
1. Alcohol ratio or ABV / ABW
The terms ABV / ABW describe the ratio of the alcohol that a drink contains. ABV expresses the alcohol content in relation to the total volume of the drink, while ABW is the proportion of alcohol by weight. This information must be reflected in the beverage containers as it is informative data for the consumer, but even more importantly, it is essential for the distribution of the commercial formula.
2. Record: Batch Sheet
Large-scale manufacturing requires details and organization, that is why it is necessary to use batch sheets, that contain the details of the product's elaboration. In the case of beverage development, the batch sheet reflects the exact formulation for production. The main function of the batch sheet is to ensure that all beverage batches are manufactured identically in composition and quality.
3. Brix degrees
The Brix degrees are the unit of measure used to quantify the amount of sugar in a liquid solution and is expressed in degrees ° Bx. When there are other solids in the preparation besides sugar, the ° Bx quantifies the proportion of solids dissolved in the solution. In terms of manufacturing, the Brix measurement allows us to know and control the amount of sugar in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and thus offer beverages with ideal levels of sugar.
4. Commercial formula
The commercial formulation specifies the ingredients, quantities, and processes for the production of beverages on a large scale. Chemists or food engineers/scientists make them because special techniques and additional ingredients are required to guarantee the stability of the product and its shelf-life.
5. Commercially viable ingredients
The specialists in commercial formulations are carefully in charge of ensuring that the selection of ingredients guarantees the naturalness and essence of the drink. At the same time, they make use of ingredients that are viable in the long term, that is, they do not suffer alterations during the process of preparation, packaging, or transfer that may affect the final product that the consumer receives.
A commercially viable ingredient must not only guarantee the quality of the product, but it must also be within the profitability and availability margins so that it does not affect the cost structure established in the manufacture of the drink.
6. Carbon dioxide (CO2)
CO2 is a gas used to carbonate drinks, which produces the bubbles and gas that are classically observed in soft drinks. The use of carbon dioxide in the development of beverages follows levels ranging from 1.0 to 5.0. The CO2 content that beverages usually have is between 1.5 and 4 volumes; however, this depends on the customer's formulation.
7. Flavor ingredient data sheet (FIDS)
FIDS is a document with certain legal and health values that limits the use of certain ingredients in end products. Regulatory entities evaluate the proportion of ingredients such as alcohol in products and beverages, which modifies the labeling and marketing of the drink.
8. Flavor house
The flavor house represents a group of chemists and food specialists who are in charge of evaluating and creating new flavors. Using a flavor house allows a formulator to make drinks with flavors that are attractive to consumers.
The GRAS seal on products is to guarantee the safety of products for human use and consumption. Having this guarantee reinforces the quality and safety of the product, which indirectly is a good stimulus for the consumer.
10. Sensory analysis
To obtain information on perception and acceptance of the final drink, organoleptic tests are used which consist of the evaluation of the drink through senses. Organoleptic tests are capable of identifying textures, colors, and odors that are desired in the final product. The first phase is carried out by formulation and flavor experts and then moves to the final phase which is carried out directly by the consumer.
11. Certified process
Depending on the type of beverage that is being developed, it may be necessary to get a formulator involved that can monitor and even modify the techniques and handling of ingredients in order to guarantee the quality and safety of the finished product.
The presence of a certified authority is usually determined once you have the commercial formulation and details of the processes and ingredients that are required for the development of the beverage. Some countries request the presence of a certified authority in any food and beverage development project.
12. Preservation methods
Beverages and foods, especially those of an organic nature, require the use of preservation methods that allow their stability after preparation until they reach the final consumer. Preservation methods can be physical, chemical, and thermal. The preference between one and the other depends on the type of drink that you want to make and the approximate preservation time you desire.
13. Ready-to-drink or RTD beverages
In the design and development of beverages, it is necessary to know the final presentation of the drink, which determines the target audience, preferences, and even the appropriate advertising. RTD drinks offer flavor and quality quickly and conveniently; therefore, they are aimed at an audience that likes convenience and needs an easily available product.
14. Stable storage
Stable storage must be checked during the manufacture of the product, which guarantees that from its elaboration, transfer, and consumption, it remains shelf-stable. Stable storage depends on the preservation methods used and the packaging process. The drink must comply with the established shelf life estimates that are calculated to obtain an average range.
15. Storage unit or SKU
Each company assigns SKUs to its products, which allow them to identify the batches of products that are distributed at different points of commercialization.
Leading the development of beverages is a demanding job that requires knowledge of technology, terminology, and many other things that can make the difference between success and failure. Understanding these terms and adapting them according to the objectives of your company will undoubtedly help you start and develop high-quality drinks.
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