National Foods' use of aseptic juice
Response to query from Today Tonight:
Aseptic juice is fresh juice that has been heat-treated, with no preservatives added, to add to its shelf-life so that it can be used when it is needed. It is needed when fresh valencia oranges are not available in quantities that we require due to the seasonal nature of orange availability.[Valencia oranges make good, sweet juice, but they are essentially a summer fruit.
Navel oranges are good table fruit, but are bitter when squeezed for juice. Navels are available in winter.]
Therefore we need to add some aseptic valencia juice, predominantly in winter, to make sure consumers get the taste they want year-round. The taste differs somewhat after the aseptic process, however it is used as a blend to ensure the final product is as consistent as possible all year, even when the only orange varieties available are the inferior juicing oranges.
The amount used varies and, while there is no allowable 'upper limit' when it is used generally a small percentage of the product.
It is used in our Daily Juice and Australian Fresh brands.
We do not specify its use on labels because:• we do not use it always and when we do the amount can vary from week-to-week
• it is simply juice that has been heat-treated via the normal pasteurization process – it has just been filled using a sterile (or aseptic) packing process
• other processors do not identify it on labels
• it is not reconstituted and it does not contain added preservatives
• it is not required under the Food Code.
Using aseptic juice does not reduce our costs at all. In fact the process, including refrigerated storage, adds to our costs but we do it so that the taste profile of our juice can be kept consistent at times when valencia availability is low.
The pasteurization or heating process reduces the amount of vitamin C, so we always add vitamin C back to the product to offset this and this is declared on the labels.
All juice manufactured by National Foods is pasteurized to destroy micro-organisms that may lead to food spoilage. This is common industry practice to ensure food safety.
Over the past ten years National Foods has worked with growers and invested in their planting of new variety valencias that are picked in winter. Every year the output of these crops is increasing and this is a part of our longer term strategy to 'smooth' out the availability of fresh fruit all year round.
A concise summary statement:• Aseptic juice is simply juice, with no added preservatives, that is heat-treated so it can be kept and used as a blend when availability of sweet-juicing oranges is naturally low.
• It adds to our production expense but we use it to balance fruit availability and provide consumers with a consistent, sweet product, made from Australian-grown oranges, all year.
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