Superficially, beverages may seem to be a dull topic. Liquids from a bottle that you drink and can get everywhere. At second thought, however, you might realise that there is a vast choice of different beverages, which you might choose for a variety of reasons, such a being thirsty or needing energy.

The beverage industry continuously develops new drinks, with all kinds of properties and claims, ranging from just quenching your thirst to strengthening your bones, stimulating your brains or preventing diseases like infections of the urinary tract. Apart from water, that usually is the main component of a beverage, they may contain various concentrations if solids (such as fruit pulp), spices, added flavours, natural or added minerals, dissolved gases that are released when a container is opened and continue to do so in the first parts of the intestinal tract. Other additions may be there to provide energy (e.g. glucose) or for stimulation (e.g. caffeine).There are also beverages that have milk or milk constituents (e.g. whey) as the basic ingredient, as such or fermented by lactic acid bacteria, sometimes probiotics with health claims. Beverages in most cases have a long shelf life, which is achieved by pasteurisation either before (aseptic) packaging or after filling into a can or bottle. Preservation, however, can also be achieved by adding preservatives or by combining a number of hurdles that affect growth of microbes, such as acidity, fruits with natural antimicrobials, carbon dioxide and mild heat. In short … “beverages”certainly is not a dull topic.


This article was written by Huub L.M. Lelieveld of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), Wageningen, The Netherlands.



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