Drinkopaedia

Welcome to drinkopaedia

This online search tool is designed to allow you to learn more about soft drinks and their ingredients. It is constantly evolving and being updated in order to carry the very latest information.

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  • Additives

    Food additives play a key role in maintaining the food qualities and characteristics that consumers demand, keeping food safe, wholesome and appealing from farm to fork. They carry out a variety of useful functions which we often take for granted. Foods are subjected to many environmental conditions, such as temperature changes, oxidation and exposure to microbes, which can change their original composition.

    An additive is described as “any substance not normally consumed as a food in itself and not normally used as a characteristic ingredient of food, whether or not it has nutritive value, the intentional addition of which to food for a technological purpose in the manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packaging, transport or storage of such food results, or may be reasonably expected to result, in it or its by-products becoming directly or indirectly a component of such foods” (Regulation (EC) 1333/2008). Many food additives are naturally occurring and some are even essential nutrients; it is the technical purpose that leads to these being classified as food additives and given an E-number.

    Food additives are very carefully regulated and the general criteria for their use is that they perform a useful, technological purpose, are safe and do not mislead the consumer. In Europe all food additives are clearly labeled by law, so those with specific sensitivities and those who believe they have sensitivity to a food additive, can readily avoid those.

  • Aspartame

    Aspartame is a low-calorie, intense sweetener which is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). It is used in a variety of food and beverages including drinks, desserts, sweets, chewing gum, yogurt, energy-reduced and weight control products and as a tabletop sweetener. Aspartame is an effective and safe tool for consumers to manage their individual calorie intake in their overall diet, in function of their own individual lifestyle.

    Aspartame has been widely used for over a quarter of a century. It is approved for use by the general population in 130 countries around the world and is currently contained in more than 6,000 food and drink products.

    Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients ever with over 200 studies confirming its safety. Since its introduction, a number of human clinical data have been accumulated, including post-marketing surveillance, consumption studies, tolerance studies at nearly twice the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) and clinical studies on specific populations like diabetics.

    Aspartame is classed as a food additive under European food legislation, and as such, underwent rigorous, safety evaluation by the Scientific Committee for Foods (SCF) before its approval in 1981. Once an additive has been approved as safe across the European Union, it is assigned an E-number and Aspartame carries the number E-951.

    Having already re-affirmed the safety of aspartame in February 2011, the European Food Safety Authority released a further draft scientific opinion in January 2013 concluding, yet again, that aspartame is safe for use as a sweetener. In this re-evaluation, EFSA’s scientific experts drew upon all available information on aspartame and its breakdown products and, following a detailed and methodical analysis, have concluded they pose no toxicity concern for consumers at current levels of exposure. The current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is considered to be safe for the general population and consumer exposure to aspartame is below this ADI.

    Soft drinks and Aspartame:
    No- and low-calorie soft drinks use intense sweeteners such as aspartame in order to provide sweetness without calories. Soft drinks sweetened with aspartame can play a useful role in helping people to manage their calorie intake as a part of a sensible and healthy lifestyle.

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  • Beverage

    A beverage is normally defined as a drink specifically prepared for human consumption. It specifically excludes plain water, but can refer to soft drinks, teas, coffees, juices or milk-based drinks such as shakes. Generally speaking, wines, beers and spirits are classified specifically as alcoholic beverages.

    The word beverage comes from the old French word beverage (modern version boivre), meaning ‘to drink’. The modern French equivalent is ‘breuvage’. Other expressions include ‘bebida’ in Spain and Portugal, ‘bevanda’ in Italy, ‘getränk’ in Germany and ‘drank’ in Dutch.

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  • Caffeine

    Caffeine is a natural substance that is found in the leaves, seeds or fruit of more than 60 plants. It is known to have a mildly stimulating effect on the central nervous system.

    Caffeine is one of the most extensively studied ingredients in the food supply and has been used safely and with pleasure for hundreds of years.

    CAFFEINE IN NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
    As with most foods and drinks, the combination and quantities of ingredients determine the flavour of non-alcoholic beverages. Caffeine is mostly found in colas or “energy” drinks and gives a slightly more bitter taste, which has been appreciated by billions of consumers around the world for centuries. There is also a wide range of caffeine-free colas and other non-alcoholic beverages for consumers who prefer to consume beverages without caffeine.

    Individual intake of caffeine varies. The non-alcoholic beverages industry encourages all consumers with questions about caffeine or other nutritional issues to speak with their doctor.

    Moderate caffeine consumption has been recognized as safe – even for pregnant women – by a wide range of experts and government agencies.

    In their in-depth 2015 assessment on caffeine, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed safe daily caffeine intakes for various population groups: ie. up too 3 mg per kg of body weight for children and adolescents (3-18 years) and up to 400 mg for adults (200 mg for pregnant and breastfeeding women).

    See also Energy Drink Code.

  • Calories

    Consumers can choose between either a no-calorie or low-calorie soft drink, or a regular soft drink. No-calorie drinks – typically called light, max, diet or zero – contain no sugar and no calories at all. Low-calorie drinks will contain between 4 and 20 calories per 100ml. A regular soft drink will contain around 20-40 calories per 100ml.

  • Canned Drinks

    Soft drinks have been available in cans for more than 70 years, with the first launched in 1938. Cans are made from either steel or aluminium and today canned soft drinks have become ubiquitous. The first aluminum can was used in 1957, a ring-pull for the can was introduced in 1962 and the soft drink vending machine in 1965. The modern tab, which remains attached to the can when opened, thus reducing litter, was invented in 1975.

    The manufacturing of the cans is a remarkably high-precision process. The cans are made in two parts – the can itself and the lid – and are filled before the top is crimped on. The main challenge is the fragility of the empty cans, which have walls less than 1/10 millimetre thick. The filling and sealing operations need to be extremely fast and precise. The filling head centres the can using gas pressure, purges the air, and lets the beverage flow down the sides of the can. The lid is placed on the can and then crimped into place in two steps. Filled cans usually have pressurised gas inside, which renders them stiff enough for easy handling

  • Cans

    In Europe, aluminium and steel are used as materials for beverage cans. Cans have undergone considerable lightweighting programmes in recent years and today are more than 40% lighter than they were in 1970.

    Forty years ago a can weighed around 80 grams, today a 330ml steel can weighs around 21 grams and an aluminium can may weigh as little as 10 grams. As a result the industry can produce almost three times as many cans using the same amount of metal as 30 years ago.

    Lighter cans also means that many more can be transported on one truck, making for less energy use and reduced emissions.

    Beverage cans are the most recycled beverage containers globally. In the EU15, the recycling rate of steel packaging is over 70% and the recycling and use of recycled content in cans saves us to 95% of the energy used for the production of virgin materials.

  • Caramel

    Caramel is a widely used colouring agent for food and drink, and is used in many soft drinks to provide a rich brown colour. It is one of the oldest colouring agents used in the world and has been added to soft drinks such as colas for almost 150 years. In addition, caramel colouring is commonly used in many commercial food products including breads, beers, sauces and toppings, confectioneries, breakfast cereals and ice-creams.

    The process of making caramel is relatively simple, and involves removing the residual water from natural sugar such as sucrose, usually by heating. The process causes the sugar molecules to join together into larger molecules, which are darker in colour. A caramel can be made by anyone in their home kitchen simply by carefully melting sugar; this type of caramel is mainly used for flavouring purposes.

    Although caramel is made from sugar, it does not contribute to the sugar and calorie content of a soft drink, as the amounts used are so small as to not be physiologically significant.

  • Carbon Dioxide

    Carbon dioxide is the basis of the bubbles in most carbonated drinks. A chemical compound, symbol CO2, at room temperature carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas about one and one-half times as dense as air. It occurs in abundance in the atmosphere and is absorbed by plants, which absorb the carbon and release oxygen. It is stable, inert and nontoxic (although it can cause death by suffocation if inhaled in large amounts).

    Carbon dioxide was one of the first gases to be described other than air, and was first properly identified in the mid 18th century by Scottish chemist Joseph Black, who called it ‘fixed air’. Then in 1772, another chemist Joseph Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air where he described a process to produce carbon dioxide, and then forcing the gas to dissolve in a bowl of water in contact with the gas, and represented the invention of soda water.

    Carbon dioxide has many commercial uses, including in fire extinguishers, industrial lasers and in the wine making industry.

  • Carbonated Drinks

    A carbonated drink is a drink that bubbles and fizzes with carbon dioxide gas. The process by which the gas dissolves in the drink is known as carbonation. This process can occur naturally, such as in naturally carbonated mineral water that absorbs carbon dioxide from the ground, or by man-made processes, as is the case in most soft drinks and soda waters. This involves pumping carbon dioxide into the drink at high pressure, then sealing the container. Since the solubility of carbon dioxide is less at lower pressure, the dissolved gas escapes as bubbles when the container is opened and the pressure is relieved.

    The maximum amount of carbon dioxide that can be dissolved in water is 8 g per litre. The excess will normally only remain in water when the drink is under pressure. Once the pressure is released – i.e. when the container is exposed to normal atmospheric pressure – the carbon dioxide will begin to escape. So once a bottle or can of a carbonated drink is opened, the beverage will start to go flat. In a similar way, your stomach don’t have enough pressure to hold excess carbon dioxide in side you either, which is why such drinks can result in burping.

    The process of artificial carbonation was invented by Joseph Preistley in England in 1767,and the first commercialisation was by Jacob Schweppes – a carbonated beverage of mineral water – in Switzerland in 1783.

    Carbonated drinks are very popular throughout the world. In many drinks, the carbonation is used to give “bite” to the flavour. Interestingly, the fizzy sensation of the drinks is almost never caused by the bubbles, but in fact by the presence of dilute carbonic acid created during carbonation. This acid creates a mild tingling sensation on the tongue.

  • Cartons

    Beverage cartons are made out of paper and have an aluminium lining. They are used to package both single serve and multi-serve drinks. They are relatively light and increasingly recyclable with more some 35% of beverage cartons now being recycled in the EU.

  • Climate Change

    The food and drink sector recognises the impact that its operations have on energy use and emissions – key factors responsible for Climate change. While the drinks sector is only a minor contributor within the wider food industry, UNESDA members are nevertheless committed to working to reduce the impact of the sector on our planet.

    The member companies are committed to taking up their responsibility in reducing energy use and subsequent emissions and seeking alternative forms of energy in the production, distribution and chilling of their products. This extends to use and conservation of water and use and reduction of packaging. (see also Environmental Stewardship and Environmental Impact).

  • Cola

    Cola is one of the most popular forms of soft drink, widely available throughout the world. The precursor to colas, Vin Mariani, was invented by a French pharmacist, Angelo Mariani, in 1863. Modern colas nowadays consists of a blend of carbonated water, sugar or artificial sweetener, caramel for colour, and acid – usually phosphoric acid – to balance sweetness.

    Colas will also contain certain natural flavourings, including extract of cola leaf and other naturally derived flavours such as vanilla and spices such as cinnamon. Other ingredients include caffeine (although some colas are available without caffeine) and certain food additives. In Europe, these additives will be identified on the label as ‘E numbers’, indicating that the European Union has deemed them safe for use in food.

    Individual recipes for colas are often closely guarded secrets.

  • Colours

    Colour is one of the first and most important sensory qualities and helps us to accept or reject particular foods. The addition of colour may appear to be purely cosmetic, but colour in fact plays an important role in consumers’ perception of food and drink. Often colour is associated with a specific flavour and intensity of flavour.

    Colours and Non-Alcoholic Beverages
    Colours are used to add or restore colour in food and drink in order to enhance its visual appeal and to match consumer expectations. The primary reasons for adding colours to foods include:

         -To offset colour loss due to exposure to light, air, extremes of temperature, moisture and storage conditions;
         -To compensate for natural or seasonal variations in food raw materials or the effects of processing and storage to meet consumer expectations;
         -To enhance colours that occur naturally but at levels weaker than those usually associated with a given food.

    All additives approved for use in beverages in the European Union have been authorised as safe by the European Food Safety Authority. Additives in EU countries carry an “E” number. The ‘E’ number indicates that an additive has been fully evaluated and is safe.

  • Cordial

    A cordial or squash is a concentrated fruit-based syrup. In the undiluted state the syrup is very sweet, and is designed to be diluted with water, soda water or a carbonated drink. Once diluted – normally at a ratio of one part cordial to four or five parts it is known as a ‘squash’.

    Cordials are popular throughout the world, and come in a variety of flavours, including orange, lemon, blackcurrant and lime, but vary according to the market in which they are sold. In some countries, cordials –usually lime or blackcurrant cordials – are added to beer to reduce the bitterness.

  • Corn Syrup

    High-fructose corn syrup, also known as isoglucose or glucose-fructose syrup, is a sweetener widely used in foods and soft drinks. It is made by converting corn syrup, which is 100% glucose into another sugar, fructose, and then mixing the two together to produce the desired level of sweetness. For soft drinks this is usually in a ratio of 55% fructose to 45% glucose, which is equivalent to the sweetness of normal sugar, sucrose. Sucrose itself is a molecule made up of fructose and glucose which is broken down by the body during digestion into fructose and glucose. As well as its use in soft drinks, high-fructose corn syrup is also found in many foods such as salad dressings, breads, biscuits and soups.

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  • Dental Health

    Many factors contribute to a person’s dental health including their diet, oral hygiene, fluoridation of the municipal water supplies and access to professional dental care.

    The incidence of dental caries (tooth decay) in children and adolescents in most European countries has been declining for some years . This is largely attributed to exposure to fluoride, primarily from fluoride toothpaste and improved oral hygiene

    Carbohydrates including sugars from food and drinks are fermented by bacteria on the tooth surface, forming acids. These acids demineralise the enamel protecting the tooth which can lead to tooth decay. The natural salts in saliva neutralise the acid and help the enamel to ‘remineralise’ and harden again.

    It’s not just sugar, other types of carbohydrate in food and drinks can be fermented by bacteria to form acid, for example natural sugars found in fruit and cooked starches.

    Remineralisation is a slower process than demineralisation so it is the frequency of consuming carbohydrates that is associated with an increased risk of tooth decay.. Therefore it is recommended not to keep snacking on sugary foods or sipping sugary drinks continuously.

    Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel resulting from direct contact with acid without the involvement of oral bacteria. Every time we eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on our teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Saliva will slowly neutralise this acidity and help the enamel to ‘remineralise’ and harden again. However, if this acid attack happens too often, enamel can be brushed away.

    Gingivitis is an inflammation (irritation) of the gums. It is common where bacterial plaque accumulates in the small gap between the teeth and gums and is not regularly removed by brushing. Gingivitis can be reversed with good oral hygiene otherwise it can eventually lead to tooth loss.

    Good oral hygiene in the form of regular brushing, flossing and regular trips to the dentist play an essential part in the prevention of tooth decay, erosion and gum disease. Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste before breakfast and after your last drink before bedtime.

    Dentists recommend eating sugary or acidic foods and drinks to mealtimes only. It is recommended that you do not brush your teeth for at least one hour after eating or drinking to allow saliva to neutralise the acidity and harden the enamel.

    Chewing sugar-free gum for ten minutes after a meal stimulates saliva production which helps to neutralise any acids and can help to prevent tooth decay and erosion.

    Dental health and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

    The health and well-being of consumers is of primary importance to the soft drinks industry. We continue to advocate responsible consumption of our products. They should be consumed in moderation and not sipped continuously.

    Non-alcoholic beverages (fruit juices, soft drinks (both carbonated and still), energy and sport drinks) are dietary sources of sugars and acid that may be associated with dental caries and erosion, if consumed frequently.

    For non-alcoholic beverages, important factors to consider are:

    The composition of the drink: replacement of sugars with non-cariogenic sweeteners, pH, amount of acid, presence of calcium, phosphate and fluoride
    The mode of drinking: glass, bottle/can, or a straw, which may afford some protection if used correctly
    The speed of drinking and how long the beverage is kept in the mouth
    The temperature of the drink
    Under normal conditions, saliva protects the teeth from damage from foods and beverages by providing a protective protein coating and buffers to neutralise the acids.

  • Diet Drinks

    Diet drinks are sugar-free soft drinks with a reduced calorie count. They are generally made with sugar substitutes to provide sweetness without the associated energy. Although the prefix diet suggests that they are designed for people who wish to lose weight or are particularly sensitive to sugar (such as diabetics) they are in fact very popular in their own right as refreshments. In many countries the ‘diet’ prefix is not used; instead they are known as ‘light’ or ‘lite’ drinks.

    The first low-calorie drink was marketed in the United States in the early 1950s by the Kirsch Bottling in Brooklyn, New York, who launched a sugar-free Ginger Ale in 1952 called No-Cal. Nowadays, the majority of carbonated soft drinks are available in ‘light’ version

    More than 30% of soft drinks sold in Europe are no- or low- sugar.

  • Drinking

    Drinking liquids is a fundamental part of staying healthily and keeping the body fully functioning. Some of the liquids will come from food, but not sufficient amounts; the body will need extra intake. Since it is not only water that is lost by the body throughout the day, soft drinks can play an important role; providing other elements, such as vitamins, minerals and energy, which water alone will not provide.

    On average, a human being needs a daily intake of somewhere between three to six litres of water to function normally, and replace the fluids lost through sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom. The exact amount will vary according to variables such as the weather, the amount and type of food being eating and the amount of energy being expended.

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  • Emissions Reduction

    The non-alcoholic beverages sector uses energy throughout its production process, sales equipment and distribution systems. We are gradually building expertise and experience in renewable resources and working towards a more efficient and renewable energy supply.

    Initiatives to reduce energy use and emissions include wind turbines, geothermal energy, combined heat and power generation and new cooling gases. In the supply chain we are working on areas such as truck sharing and the introduction of energy efficient and hybrid distribution vehicles that will allow us to reduce fleet emissions in Europe.

  • Energy Drinks

  • Energy Use

    Energy is obviously a key resource for the production and distribution of non-alcoholic beverages and UNESDA members and their suppliers are steadily reducing both energy use and emissions.

    The industry has been working for many years to reduce its dependency on energy – through changes in lighting, production processes and bottling equipment as well as the investment in new energy saving technologies and devices.

    The energy use ratio for soft drink bottling in production facilities is typically in the range of 0.4-0.6 MJ per litre of produced beverage. This number has been reduced significantly in major drinks companies since 2004 and new technologies currently being introduced will bring energy reductions of up to 50% in coming years as we look to further reduce the energy footprint of coolers and vending machines.

  • Environmental Impact

    UNESDA and its members actively contribute to a number of platforms seeking to define common best-practice frameworks for measuring and evaluating the environmental footprint of products. The industry is committed to examining all areas of the business that have environmental impact including energy use, packaging, use of water and transport.

    Establishing universal definitions and methodologies for calculating environmental impact is challenging as new methods are constantly emerging and we need to take a holistic approach from production through to sale and include the impact of consumer behaviour in purchasing and disposing of the product.

    We are members of organisations including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), The Retail Forum and the Food Sustainable Consumption and Production Roundtable. UNESDA also supports the work done by the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) which has taken a lead in developing methodologies for calculating water and carbon footprinting. We are working closely with the Carbon Trust, the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Twelve global beverage companies are actively participating in BIER, representing categories right across the industry.

    Across Europe UNESDA members are included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, Dow Jones STOXX Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good Index. Member companies use leading standards such as ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment), OHSAS 18001 (Health and Safety), ISO 22000 (Food Safety), The Global Reporting Initiative, London Benchmarking Group and the International Business Leaders Forum.

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  • Flavourings

    Flavours are present in virtually every soft drink. They may be obtained from natural or artificial sources and are used to respond to increasing consumer demands for a wide spectrum of different tasting foods and drinks. Natural flavours are derived from a wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, bark, leaves, herbs, spices and oils. Artificial flavours are manufactured synthetically.

  • Fruit Juice

    Fruit Juice is the liquid extracted from fruit by pressing or macerating the flesh. Probably the most recognisable is orange juice, a breakfast table staple, which is extracted from oranges. Other popular juices include apple, pineapple and grape.

    Most countries have a definition of purity to entitle the drink to be classified as a “fruit juice.” Within the EU, name of a fruit or fruits used in conjunction with juice is only legally permitted to describe a product that is 100% fruit juice.

    Juices are widely available. Some may have been freeze- or spray-dried before being reconstituted; less commonly nowadays they may have been canned. However fresh juices are increasingly common

    Juices can also be prepared at home, using juicing tools such as press or centrifuges.

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  • Ginger Ale

    Ginger ale is a carbonated drink flavoured with ginger. The origins of the drink are from Eastern Europe, where it has been known many centuries. Historically it was available in two varieties: golden ginger ale and dry ginger ale. The original style was golden ginger ale, which is darker in colour and strongly flavoured and believed to have originated in Eastern Europe. Dry ginger ale, is more recent and is believed to have originated in Ireland around 1851. The modern incarnation was patented by John McLaughlin, in Toronto, Canada, who began making his own “McLaughlin Belfast Style Ginger Ale” in 1890. Dry ginger ale quickly surpassed golden ginger ale in popularity; golden ginger ale is a relatively rare drink nowadays.

    The original golden ginger ale was naturally carbonated with small bubbles of carbon dioxide, much like real beer. Modern ginger ale usually contains ginger, sugar, and carbonated water. Ginger ale can also contain yeast when carbonated with natural fermentation. Manufacturers can use complex proprietary mixes of spices, fruits and other flavours, so ginger content is often listed on the label as part of a general natural flavouring statement, to preserve secrecy of the used. Lemon, lime and cane sugar are the most common of ingredients, although sometimes peppers are used to provide piquancy.

    Ginger ale is a common mixer drink, and finds favour in non-alcoholic cocktails, in part due to its visual resemblance to champagne. It is also a popular home remedy used to prevent or alleviate travel sickness, to relieve upset stomachs and to soothe coughs and sore throats.

    See also Ginger Beer

  • Ginger Beer

    Ginger beer is a sparkling drink that is flavoured primarily with ginger and sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The drink originated in the UK in the 18th century, and was a mixture of ginger, sugar, and water, to which was added a yeast based starter called “ginger beer plant” and then left to ferment. Nowadays, however, the alcoholic version has been mostly superseded by a soft drink version carbonated with pressurized carbon dioxide. This version does not contain alcohol.

    Traditionally, ginger beer was naturally cloudy, and as a result was sold in opaque stoneware bottles. Many manufacturers still echo this tradition by choosing to make their products cloudy, even although this is not necessary. The flavour of ginger beer is close to that of ginger ale, but with a considerably more pronounced ‘ginger’ flavour.
    It is popular as a soft drink on its own, and is occasionally used as a mixer drink.

  • Glass

    Glass bottles are particularly used to package non-alcoholic beverages sold in cafes, bars and restaurants (known as the On trade).

    There are two types of bottles – those for single use – which are light in weight, and those which are reused and refilled and so are heavier and more robust as a result.

    The weight of glass bottles is highly dependent on the use or reuse of the containers and because the bottles need to be reused and make multiple trips they need to be resistant and robust and as a consequence they are heavier.
    New innovation and the design of single-use glass bottles has allowed the industry to reduce the weight of the existing 330ml glass bottle by 20% to 210 grams in the past three years.

    Glass bottles typically include between 20% and 60% recycled content.

  • Green Dot

    All UNESDA members are licensees of the Green Dot scheme of PRO Europe the umbrella organisation for European packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling schemes.

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  • Hydration

    Keeping the human body well hydrated is essential in ensuring optimum mental and physical functioning. Our body is made up of 60% water. Water plays a critical role in all body functions and metabolisms. Therefore, an adequate fluid intake is critical to allow our body to function at its best.

    Most people don’t realize that every day they lose water equivalent to between 1% and 2% of one’s total body weight through normal bodily functions. As loss of fluid is essential to many bodily functions, including maintaining a normal body temperature it is important that we replace lost fluid effectively throughout the day. The amount of fluid lost during the day can vary considerably from one person to the next, depending on body type, activity levels and climate.

    Studies prove that dehydration may result in a decrease in general physical performance including excess fatigue, headaches and lack of both concentration and coordination.

    Lack of hydration in children and the elderly is a particular risk and must be monitored.

    The role of soft drinks and hydration

    Consuming 2-2.5 litres of fluid each day comprising both drinks and food such as fruit and vegetables, will generally keep hydration levels normal in adults. Science shows that consuming different fluids – water, juices and both hot and cold beverages – encourages drinking by providing variety and choice in flavours and format.

    The basic ingredient of a non-alcoholic beverage is always water. Sometimes a sweetener and a flavour are added. Water represents about 90% of a sugar-containing carbonated drink (even more in low calorie versions).

    In its 2008 advice on nutrient profiles the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stressed the special role that beverages play in the diet due to their hydration properties. This is a link to the one page summary, with the relevant paragraph highlighted below. (The Regulation requires that the setting of nutrient profiles should take into account the dietary role and importance of food groups and their contribution of nutrients to the overall diet of the population (or specific population groups).Food groups with important dietary roles include vegetable oils, spreadable fats, dairy products, cereals and cereal products, fruits and vegetables and their products, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, and non-alcoholic beverages. The different dietary roles of such food groups are related to differences in their nutrient composition, as well as their (habitual) intake, and are recognised in food based dietary guidelines in Member States)

    Dehydration can result in a decrease in general physical performance, excess fatigue, headaches and lack of concentration and coordination.

    Hydration and Sport

    During exercise the working muscles produce heat and this heat must be dissipated in order to keep the body temperature within safe limits.

    Sweating, and its evaporation from the skin, is our most effective mechanism for regulating body temperature. If fluid lost as sweat is not replaced during exercise, the resulting dehydration quickly impairs performance. As little as a 2% of body weight lost as fluid (i.e. 1.5 litres for an average 75kg male) can result in a decrease in both mental performance (e.g. reduced concentration/decision making ability) and physical performance (fatigue/reduced muscular strength).

    Replacing lost fluid is thus vitally important both for maintaining sporting performance and also for minimizing risks to health. Sports drinks have been specially designed to contain both carbohydrate and electrolytes which work to promote rapid absorption from the small intestine and increase retention of ingested fluid.

    Risks of dehydration:

    Scientific studies have shown that losing more than 2% of body weight, 1.5kgs or 1.5 litres for an average 75kg person, through dehydration can result in a decrease in physical and mental performance.

    In extreme conditions, normally associated with exercise in hot and/or humid environments, dehydration can cause the body’s core temperature to exceed 41°C with potentially fatal consequences. This condition is known as hyperthermia.

    Questions and Answers:

    How can people ensure that they are adequately hydrated?
    Fluid intake differs among individuals and is affected by thirst, habit, culture, access and palatability. Allowing for a variety in the food and beverages consumed will help people maintain adequate hydration and consumer a range of beverages throughout the day.

    Is plain water more hydrating than other beverages?
    No. There is no evidence to show that water provides better hydration than other beverages, indeed studies show that variety in flavours can encourage fluid consumption. Where dehydration is accompanied by loss in sodium which may occur during endurance physical activity or in hot environmental conditions the inclusion of a small amount of sodium in a sports drink can facilitate effective hydration.

    Are caffeinated beverages dehydrating?
    No. Research shows that those who regularly ingest caffeine do not experience increased urine output or altered indicators of hydration status after consuming caffeinated beverages.(Denaro et al. 1991; Gorelick et al. 1997; Montain et al. 1999; Grandjean et al. 2000)

    Surely people should stick to water rather than carbonated or sugary drinks if they want to stay correctly hydrated?
    Hydration comes from any liquid source such as drinks, fruit, vegetables and other foods. It has been shown that when there is a large choice of drinks, hydration is better accomplished especially in children, elderly and physically active people. Research indicates there are three main physiological triggers for thirst: cerebral osmoreceptors, extra cerebral osmoreceptors and volume receptors. While the need for water is biological, beverage selection is influenced by several factors. Sensory attributes such as colour, flavour, odour and texture determine the palatability of a beverage. Appearance and temperature also affect consumption as does availability.

    External links:

    European Food Information Council (EUFIC)

    European Food Safety authority comment on the special role of non-alcoholic beverages in the diet within its opinion on Nutrient profiles.

    British Soft Drinks Association Hydration Fact Sheets

    American Beverage Association on Hydration

  • Hypertonic Drinks

    Hypertonic sports drinks contain a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body and higher levels of carbohydrate than isotonic drinks. These are used to supplement daily carbohydrate intake normally after exercise, in order to top up muscle energy stores. Athletes who take part in ultra distance events, where sustained high levels of energy are required, use these drinks. Hypertonic drinks can be taken during exercise allowing the athlete to meet their energy requirements. They are normally used in conjunction with isotonic drinks to maintain fluids.

  • Hypotonic Drinks

    Hypotonic sports drinks have a lower level of carbohydrates than isotonic drinks. These can quickly replace fluids lost by sweating. They are favoured by athletes who need to maintain fluid without the boost of carbohydrate, or the potential for weight gain, such as gymnasts and jockeys.

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  • Iced Coffee

    As the name suggests, iced coffee is a drink prepared from cold coffee. However, due to the intrinsic bitterness of brewed coffee, preparation for iced coffee is often by infusing in cold water. This is carried out by allowing the coffee to steep for several hours before filtering.

    Many coffee shop chains will sell their popular coffees in an ‘iced’ version; however as sugar does not dissolve in the cold liquid, it needs to be added as a syrup. However sugar substitutes will readily dissolve in cold coffee.

    Iced coffee is also available as a soft drink in cans and bottles.

  • Iced Tea

    Iced tea is, as the name suggests, a form of cold tea. As a soft drink it is popular throughout the world; the United States even celebrates a ‘National Iced Tea Month’ in June. Although it is often home-made, it became commercially popular in the early part of the 20th century, when a Mr. Richard Blechynden, then the India Tea Commissioner, attended the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. Unable to entice people to take his hot infusion in the summer weather, he and his team took brewed India tea, filled several large bottles, and placed them on stands upside down, allowing the liquid to flow through iced lead pipes. The free iced tea was a welcomed change to thirsty fair goers and a real boon to India tea awareness.

    Iced Teas are available in a variety of flavours, including lemon, peach, green tea and mango. Iced tea can be carbonated or non-carbonated.

  • Isotonic Drinks

    Isotonic drinks are those which mimic the balance of salt and sugar normally found in the body; usually with carbohydrate also; normally at about 6 to 8% carbohydrate by volume. Isotonic drinks rapidly replace fluids lost by sweating and supply a boost of carbohydrate. Such drinks are the preferred choice for the majority of athletes – middle and long distance running or team sports.

  • Isoglucose

    Isoglucose, also known as high fructose corn syrup, is a sweetener widely used in foods and soft drinks. It is made by converting corn syrup, which is 100% glucose into another sugar, fructose, and then mixing the two together to produce the desired level of sweetness. For soft drinks this is usually in a ratio of 55% fructose to 45% glucose, which is equivalent to the sweetness of normal sugar, sucrose. Sucrose itself is a molecule made up of fructose and glucose which is broken down by the body during digestion into fructose and glucose. As well as its use in soft drinks, isoglucose is also found in many foods such as salad dressings, breads, biscuits and soups.

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  • Local names for Non-Alcoholic Drinks

    Non alcoholic drinks are frequently known by a collective, colloquial name. These include ‘soda’ in the United States, which is a catch-all for all carbonated drinks. These names are frequently derived from an existing soft drink, such as Limonaad or Ginger, or refer to the nature of the drink, such as Sprudel or Fizzy Pop.

    Here are some of the names used in various European countries:

    Austria Gespritzter …saft (e.g.
    Gespritzter Apfelsaft)
    Belgium Soft (FR), Frisdrank (NL)
    Bulgaria Gazirano
    Denmark Sodavand; Læskedrik
    Estonia Limonaad; Karastusjook
    Finland Virvoitusjuoma;
    Limonadi
    France Soda
    Germany Sprudel; Brause
    Greece Anapsyktika
    Hungary Üdítőital; Üdítő
    Ireland Mineral
    Italy Bibita
    Malta Luminata
    Netherlands Frisdrank; Fris
    Norway Brus
    Poland Napoje gazowane
    Portugal Refrigerante
    Romania Răcoritoare; Suc; Cico
    Spain Refrescos; Gaseosas
    Sweden Läsk
    UK Pop; Fizzy pop;
    Ginger; Juice
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  • Mixer

    Mixers are non-alcoholic ingredients used in alcoholic or non alcoholic mixed drinks and cocktails. There are many reasons mixers are used; to add or create new flavours, to dilute or lengthen drinks. They may even be used to add or change the colour or texture of a drink.

    Numerous soft drinks are regularly used as mixers, depending on the final drink which is desired. These include common carbonated drinks including soda water, colas, lemonades, tonic waters or ginger ales, as well as some energy drinks.

    Fruit juices are also frequently used as mixers; most commonly orange juice, apple juice, coconut milk, pineapple juice or tomato juice. Fruit syrups and cordials, such as grenadine or lime cordial are another example of mixer drinks.

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  • Non-Alcoholic Drinks

    Non-alcoholic drinks, or soft drinks as they are also known, provide hydration and quench the thirst without any of the effects of alcohol-based beverages, such as dehydration or driving impairment. A wide variety and choice of non-alcoholic beverages are available with something to suit every taste and occasion including cordials, fruit drinks, juice drinks and carbonates.

    Many social situations, cultures and religions eschew drinking alcohol -indeed, close to forty percent of the adult population is unable to drink alcohol at any given time for reasons ranging from pregnancy, medical conditions, and designated driving.

    Under EU law a non-alcoholic drink is classified as a drink containing less than 0.5% alcohol.

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  • Packaging and Soft Drinks

    Non-alcoholic beverages are packaged in a variety of formats: Glass, cans, cartons and plastic bottles known as PET. They are also available in a wide variety of sizes.

    Packaging protects the quality of beverages and also provides a platform to communicate with consumers by providing information on pack such as details of ingredients or calories.
    Cans – In Europe, aluminium and steel are used as materials for beverage cans. Cans have undergone considerable lightweighting programmes in recent years and today are more than 40% lighter than they were in 1970.

    Forty years ago a can weighed around 80 grams, today a 330ml steel can weighs around 21 grams and an aluminium can may weigh as little as 10 grams. As a result the industry can produce almost three times as many cans using the same amount of metal as 30 years ago.

    Lighter cans also means that many more can be transported on one truck, making for less energy use and reduced emissions.

    Beverage cans are the most recycled beverage containers globally. In the EU15, the recycling rate of steel packaging is over 70% and the recycling and use of recycled content in cans saves us to 95% of the energy used for the production of virgin materials.

    PET – Plastic bottles known as PET (Polyethyleneterephthalate) containers are an increasingly popular packaging format. They are re-sealable – and so ideal for people on the move who need to stay hydrated, and they are transparent – enabling consumers to see the drink that they are buying.

    PET containers are 100% recyclable and the average bottle has reduced in weight by some 50% over the past 10 years.

    Glass – Glass bottles are particularly used to package non-alcoholic beverages sold in cafes, bars and restaurants (known as the On trade).

    There are two types of bottles – those for single use – which are light in weight, and those which are reused and refilled and so are heavier and more robust as a result.

    Cartons – Beverage cartons are made out of paper and have an aluminium lining. They are used to package both single serve and multi-serve drinks. They are relatively light and increasingly recyclable with some 35% of beverage cartons now being recycled in the EU.

    See also packaging reduction, re-use, recover and recycling.

    See also Circular Packaging Vision infographic.

  • PET

    Plastic bottles known as PET (Polyethyleneterephthalate) containers are an increasingly popular packaging format. They are re-sealable – and so ideal for people on the move who need to stay hydrated, and they are transparent – enabling consumers to see the drink that they are buying.

    PET containers are 100% recyclable and the weight of the average PET bottle has reduced by 50% over the past 10 years. PET bottles can include up to 50% recycled material for general use.

    PET is recovered through industry recovery systems and sorted into different colour fractions. This sorted post-consumer PET is crushed, pressed into bales and offered to recycling companies. PET flakes are then used as a raw material for a whole range of products from shirts and textiles to carpets and clothes. Today there is also a growing use for recycled PET in new beverage bottles. The average recovery rate for used PET is around 40% with the individual recovery systems of some member states achieving as much as 80%.

    See also Circular Packaging Vision infographic.

  • Phosphoric Acid

    Phosphoric acid is used as an acidifier in a number of soft drinks, including colas, as well as in foodstuffs.

    Some degree of acidity helps to balance the sweetness of a drink. The phosphoric acid used in soft drinks is derived from natural minerals and is completely safe for its intended use. It has been recognised for use as a food additive by the health authorities in virtually every country in the world.

    Phosphoric acid contains the mineral phosphorus, which is found commonly in soil and water. It is also present in nearly all foods, with especially high levels in protein-rich foods such as eggs, dairy products and meat. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient and contributes to the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth and has an important role in regulating the body’s energy production system.

    The average adult consumes 1,000-1,500 mg of phosphorus per day; a soft drink such as a cola contains around 3-4% of that amount in a 250ml serving. By comparison, a hard-boiled egg contains 86 mg of phosphorus.

  • Preservatives

    Preservatives are substances which prolong the shelf-life of foodstuffs by protecting them against deterioration caused by microorganisms. The preservatives are one of the 26 major additives categories that are used in the food processing and have been evaluated many times and confirmed to be safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

    Maximum levels of preservatives are set depending on the food type. The levels have been defined based on the technological necessity of the product type. In addition, bacteria, yeasts and moulds differ in their susceptibility and therefore different types of preservatives are required to kill the microorganisms.

    Why are preservatives important?

    Preservatives have a long history of safe use in food products.

    Food preservation is one of the oldest technologies used in the food processing through methods such as heating, dehydration or smoking.

    The factors that affect the microbial growth in a food product are the water activity, the pH, the presence or absence of oxygen, the availability of nutrients and the temperature.

    Since foods are an excellent source of nutrients for the attraction and growth of microorganisms, causing problems such as bad taste, unpleasant smell and poor appearance, the preservatives aim at altering those conditions where microorganisms grow and prevent their growth. The main purpose of preservatives is to maintain the safety of food for human consumption, retain its nutritional value and its overall quality.

    There are three types of preservatives; antimicrobials which inhibit the activity or growth of microorganisms and moulds, antioxidants which are used to prevent the oxidation of vitamins, minerals and lipids of foods, and antibrowning agents which prevent both enzymatic and non enzymatic browning of foodstuffs.

    Preservatives in non-alcoholic beverages
    Since soft drinks are high in water activity and some of them are rich in vitamins and minerals, they are an attractive environment for microbes. The usually low pH of the soft drinks, due to carbonation, the sugar content in some of them and the addition of preservatives help to inhibit the growth of microbes and bacteria.

    The type of the chemical preservatives that can be used in soft drinks depends on the chemical and physical properties of both the antimicrobial preservatives and the soft drink. Low or high pH of the product, the presence of vitamins, the packaging and the storage conditions of the product will determine whether preservatives are necessary and what type should be used in order to prevent the growth of microorganisms.

    The main preservatives allowed and used in soft drinks are sulphur dioxide, sorbic acid and its salts and benzoic acid and its salts.

    Sulphur dioxide (E220) and sulphites

    Sulphur dioxide and sulphites have been extensively used as antimicrobials for many centuries and are very effective preservatives. The oldest reference on sulphur dioxide dates back to Roman times when sulphur was burnt and the unfermented juice exposed to the fumes to help in the preservation of the wine. Sulphites were added to casks of lemon and lime juices in the nineteenth century to preserve the fruit juice and help to prevent scurvy on ocean-going ships.

    The free forms of sulphites are more active than the bound forms of sulphur dioxide. Sulphites have numerous functions apart from their antimicrobial activity, as they are also used as antioxidants, antibrowning agents and colour stabilisers.

    Sulphites are used in soft drinks in order to control the growth of undesirable microorganisms such as yeasts and act as antioxidants to prevent browning reactions occurring.

    Sulphur dioxide and sulphites are known to cause allergic reactions in certain sensitive consumers notably those with asthmatic conditions. These reaction occur more commonly when sulphur dioxide gas is used or wine is ingested as the levels are usually much higher than those found in soft drinks. However, European legislation lays down detailed rules for the mandatory labelling of the additives used in a product so as to enable the consumers to make informed choices and avoid the consumption of those additives when necessary.

    Sorbic acid (E200) and its salts

    Sorbic acid and its salts (also known as sorbates) is a very effective preservative against yeasts, moulds and bacteria. The antimicrobial effectiveness of sorbate depends on the physical and chemical properties of the soft drink, including pH, other additives present, processing, packaging, storage temperature and storage length. The salts are more frequently used as they are more soluble than the acid form.

    Sorbic acid is an effective antimicrobial preservative but high levels can affect the taste of a product. Benzoates and sorbates are often used in combination, especially where the soft drink is highly acidic.

    Benzoic acid (E210) and its salts

    Benzoic acid occurs naturally in various berries notably cranberries, cinnamon, plums, currants, cloves etc. It has long been used to inhibit microbial growth in many products including non-alcoholic beverages, jams and emulsified sauces. The salt of the benzoate is more stable than the acid form and more soluble in water making the benzoates a favourable choice for the soft drinks industry.

    Sodium Benzoate has been in use for more than 100 years and is widely used by the food and beverage industry to maintain quality and taste. It is approved for use in soft drinks by the European Union as well as other international regulatory bodies including the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan.

    Benzoic acid is very effective against moulds, yeasts and bacteria. It is particularly well suited for use in soft drinks, such as carbonated , still and juice beverages because it works best between pH levels of 2 – 4. The composition of the drink therefore has an effect on its efficiency and suitability for use.

    When ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is present as an ingredient in beverages along with sodium benzoate, benzene formation may occur under certain conditions. Formation of benzene is exacerbated in beverages if they are stored for extended periods at elevated temperatures. Although the levels and frequency at which such benzene formation has occurred in the past has not been considered to pose a public health risk, the soft drinks industry has developed methods to prevent or minimize its occurrence. In recent years the use of benzoates has been reduced because of new processing techniques but it is still necessary to use these preservatives in some beverages to maintain their quality.

    Are preservatives safe?
    Like all additives, preservatives have to be approved for use in drinks and foods before they can be used. Expert organisations such as the Scientific Committee for Food, the European Food Safety Authority and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Additives Committee have examined the safety of each preservative and made recommendations on their use including maximum levels. Such recommendations are taken up by governments both nationally and at European level so that food and drinks can be preserved effectively whilst ensuring the food is safe to consume.

    References
    Branen, L.A. Davidson, P.M. and Salminen S. (1990), Food Additives, Markel Dekker Inc, NY
    European Parliament and Council Directive 95/2/EC (1995) on food additives other than colours or sweeteners. Official Journal of the European Communities L61, 18.3.95, 1-40.
    Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives. Official Journal of the European Union L354, 31.12.2008, 16-33.
    EUFIC, https://www.eufic.org/en
    British Soft Drinks Association, http://www.britishsoftdrinks.com/

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  • Recycling and Soft Drinks

    Most non-alcoholic drinks packaging is either refillable or recyclable. Indeed the recycling percentage rates of beverage packaging are amongst the highest of the packing industry in Europe and meet or exceed the legal recovery targets by at least 50%.

    UNESDA members’ package products in glass, aluminium, steel, PET and cartons, and have led the way in encouraging the collection, recovery and recycling of packaging.

    Glass: The weight of glass bottles is highly dependent on the use or reuse of the containers and because the bottles need to be reused and make multiple trips they need to be resistant and robust and as a consequence they are heavier.

    New innovation and the design of single-use glass bottles has allowed the industry to reduce the weight of the existing 330ml glass bottle by 20% to 210 grams in the past three years.
    Aluminium: Aluminium cans are 100% recyclable. Cans are 40% lighter than they were 40 years ago and a 330ml can weighs around 10 grams.

    Steel: Steel is the most recycled material in the world and steel cans are 100% recyclable. Steel cans are 50% lighter than they were 40 years ago and a 330ml steel can now weighs around 21 grams.

    PET: PET containers are 100% recyclable and the weight of the average PET bottle has reduced by 50% over the past 10 years.

    PET is recovered through industry recovery systems and sorted into different colour fractions. This sorted post-consumer PET is crushed, pressed into bales and offered to recycling companies. PET flakes are then used as a raw material for a whole range of products from shirts and textiles to carpets and clothes. Today there is also a growing use for recycled PET in new beverage bottles. The average recovery rate for used PET is around 40% with the individual recovery systems of some member states achieving as much as 80%.

    Cartons: Some 32% of beverage cartons used in Europe are now recycled – representing 330,000 tonnes.
    UNESDA members are all licensees of PRO Europe – the umbrella organisation for European packaging and packaging waste recovery and recycling schemes. These schemes are labelled with the Green Dot.

    See also Circular Packaging Vision infographic.

  • Root Beer

    Root beer is a carbonated beverage popular in many countries, especially in North America. It comes as both an alcoholic drink and non-alcoholic soft drink, although nowadays the soft drink predominates.

    Although root beers have existed for a long time, a Philadelphia pharmacist, Charles Hires, first commercially produced them in the late 19th century. He created a combination of over twenty-five herbs, berries and roots that he used to flavour a carbonated soda water drink, which he introduced in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition. He began selling bottled root beer in 1893

    The drink takes its name from the fact that it was historically made using the root of the sassafras plant as the primary flavour. However this has been replaced by artificial sassafras flavouring along with a number of other flavours, including vanilla, wintergreen, cherry tree bark, liquorice root, sarsaparilla root, nutmeg, anise, cinnamon, and cloves and honey. In addition, although root beer is carbonated, natural extracts such as yucca or quillaja are often added as additional foaming agents to increase root beer’s froth or ‘head’.

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  • Soda Water

    Soda refers most commonly to soda water, which is a drink made by dissolving carbon dioxide into water under pressure, making it sparkling. The name soda comes from sodium salts and other regulators to deliver a taste similar to mineral water (the process of adding carbon dioxide to water forms an acid, carbonic acid. To reduce the acidity, alkaline salts such as sodium bicarbonate are added, hence the name.

    Soda water is consumed on its own as a refreshment or as a mixer for a variety of other drinks, including fruit juices and some alcoholic drinks. It is a common addition to dilute other drinks and make them ‘long’.

    Soda water was invented in the 18th Century by Joseph Priestley who discovered that he could infuse water with carbon dioxide when he suspended a bowl of water above fermenting beer at a local brewery in Leeds, England. The process was commercialised by an amateur Swiss scientist by the name of J.J. Schweppe. The drink was quite fashionable for a while, with the home soda syphon, a device for dispensing pressurised soda water, a common sight in the early- to mid-20th century.

    Nowadays, commercial soda water for siphons is made by chilling filtered plain water to 8 degrees Celsius, adding an alkaline compound to reduce acidity and then pressurising with carbon dioxide. This gas dissolves in the water, and then a further addition of carbon dioxide is added to pressurise the siphon to approximately 120 pounds per square inch, around 50% than is found in champagne.

    Americans use the term ‘soda’ when referring to any carbonated soft drink; soda water – the unflavored variety – is known as ‘club soda’ or seltzer, after the German town of Selters an der Lahn, near Hesse.

  • Sodium Benzoate

    Sodium benzoate is a preservative approved worldwide to maintain quality and taste in foodstuffs. As well as its use as a preservative to maintain the microbiological safety of foodstuffs, sodium benzoate also occurs naturally in a wide range of foods, such as cranberries, at levels that are usually much higher than those at which it is used as a preservative.

    Sodium benzoate is approved by the European regulatory authorities. It is safe and, as normally consumed, has no negative effects on health.

    Sodium Benzoate and Soft Drinks
    Sodium Benzoate has been in use for more than 100 years and is widely used by the food and beverage industry to maintain quality and taste. It is approved for use in soft drinks by the European Union as well as other international regulatory bodies including the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan.

    All drinks in which sodium benzoate has been added carry clear labelling in the ingredients list on the bottle or can. The E number for sodium benzoate is E211.

  • Soft Drink

    A drink is referred to as ‘soft’ to distinguish it from a so-called ‘hard’ drink or hard liquor and a soft drink refers to a non-alcoholic drink. Historically, a ‘hard’ drink was one which had been distilled such as whisky or gin, unlike say, a wine, beer or cider.

    The criteria for what precisely constitutes a soft drink vary from country to country. Normally, soft drinks are drunk chilled or at room temperature. Iced teas and coffees and drinks made with fruit squashes or cordials are classified as soft drinks. The term excludes fruit juices and drinks made with milk or dairy products, such as milk shakes, or warm drinks such as hot chocolates, coffees, teas.

  • Soft Drink Closures

    Soft drink containers can have a number of types of sealing or closures and which one is used depends on a number of factors including the size of the container, whether it will be resealed and what type of drink it contains.

    Screw tops
    Screw tops or screw caps are commonly used on re-sealable bottles, and can be used for both still and carbonated drinks. The majority of soft drink bottles use plastic caps on plastic bottles. However metal screw tops are also used, usually on glass bottles, more commonly for juices and cordials.

    For both metal and plastic, there is usually a tamper-proof security attachment to the cap, consisting of a ring that is detached when the bottle is first opened, remaining on the neck of the bottle. If the ring has not been detached, the bottle has not previously been opened.

    Due to the fact they are re-sealable, screw top bottles – especially lighter, plastic versions – are portable and are popular with sports people or people on the move such as walkers or cyclists.

    Ring pulls
    Canned soft drinks are sold with a fitted ring pull to open them. The ‘stay-on tabs’ that we are familiar with today were introduced in the 1970’s and allow consumers to open their soft drink with the ease as well as ensuring safety and facilitating recycling of the whole can.

    Crown caps
    Crown Caps or crown corks were the first common soft drink closure and this method of sealing bottles is still in wide use around the world. The crown cap is normally used with glass bottles, for relatively small size – as it cannot be effectively re-sealed.

    Normally a bottle sealed with a crown cap is ‘popped’ with a bottle opener and the crown cork thrown away (the glass bottle will be recycled), although some crown caps can be twisted off by hand.

  • Sports Drinks

    Sports drinks are specifically designed to help people rehydrate after exercise. They are typically used by athletes and those taking part in sport and work by replenishing electrolytes, carbohydrates and other nutrients that can become depleted after exercise.

    Sports drinks fall into three key categories:

    • Isotonic sports drinks – which contain concentrations of salt and sugar similar to the human body
    • Hypertonic sports drinks – which contain a concentration of salt and sugar that is higher than that of the human body
    • Hypotonic sports drinks – which contain a concentration of salt and sugar that is low than that of the human body.

    The replacement of electrolytes promotes proper rehydration which is essential in enabling the body to continue to exercise without getting tired. Carbohydrates are the primary nutrient used by the body’s muscles when exercising.

    The majority of sports drinks are moderately isotonic and contain between 13 and 19 grams of sugar per 250ml serving.

    The role of sports drinks and hydration
    During exercise the working muscles produce heat and this heat must be dissipated in order to keep the body temperature within safe limits.

    Sweating, and its evaporation from the skin, is our most effective mechanism for regulating body temperature. If fluid lost as sweat is not replaced during exercise, the resulting dehydration quickly impairs performance. As little as a 2% of body weight lost as fluid (i.e. 1.5 litres for an average 75kg male) can result in a decrease in both mental performance (e.g. reduced concentration/decision making ability) and physical performance (fatigue/reduced muscular strength).

    Replacing lost fluid is thus vitally important both for maintaining sporting performance and also for minimizing risks to health. Sports drinks have been specially designed to contain both carbohydrate and electrolytes which work to promote rapid absorption from the small intestine and increase retention of ingested fluid.

  • Sugar Substitutes

    The taste sensation ‘sweet’ is not unique to sugar. In fact, sweetness is caused by molecules which stimulate the sweetness taste buds the degree of sweetness we taste depends on how well the receptors in our tongue interact with the molecules. The stronger the interaction, the sweeter we perceive the taste.

    Sugar substitutes are therefore substances which provide this stimulation to the taste buds but usually at a lower calorific value than normal. Some sugar substitutes are naturally derived and some are synthetic. Those that are not naturally derived are collectively known as artificial sweeteners. The first artificial sweetener, saccharin, was discovered in 1878 by Constantin Fahlberg, a Russian scientist working in the United States.

    There are number of sugar substitutes used in soft drink manufacturing, with the most common being saccharin, cyclamate and aspartame. These compounds are many times sweeter than sugar, and are known as high-intensity sweeteners. They are most commonly found in diet or ‘lite’ drinks; this is because as less of the sweetener is required, the number of calories in the drink is correspondingly lower.

    The sweetness ‘profile’ created by sugar substitutes is not identical to natural sugar, so they can be blended to achieve as close as possible to normal sugar-sweetness.

  • Sugars

    WHAT ARE SUGARS?
    Sugars are carbohydrates and mainly provide energy for the body. During intense physical activity in particular, sugars are the main energy source.

    Sugars can be found in fruit, berries, vegetables and honey or in manufactured foods and beverages. There are no nutritional differences among sugars, whether they are naturally occurring or whether added to beverages or food. During digestion, sugars – such as sucrose and lactose – are broken down into single sugars. Single sugars then travel through the blood stream to various body cells where they are either stored for future use, mainly in the liver, or are used as energy by our body’s cells.

    Check out this brochure to learn all you need to know about sugars.

    Foods and beverages can contain different sugars and he most common sugars include:

    • Sucrose – a disaccharide or double sugar made of equal parts of glucose and fructose. Sucrose is found in many fruits and vegetables and is often used in manufactured foods and beverages. This sugar is commonly known as ‘table’ or ‘white’ sugar and is found naturally in sugar cane and sugar beet.
    • Fructose – a monosaccharide or single sugar. It is present in many fruits as either the monosaccharide itself or in combination with glucose as the disaccharide sucrose. fructose is about 1 ½ times sweeter than sucrose.
    • Glucose – is a monosacchide, a single sugar. It is present in some fruits, vegetables and other foods and beverages as a monosaccharide. It is also present as the disaccharides; sucrose (in combination with fructose), maltose (in combination with another glucose) or lactose (in combination with galactose) Maltose and lactose are less sweet than sucrose.
    • Lactose – a disaccharide or double sugar. In nature, it is found in milk. It is less sweet than any of the other sugars.
      High fructose syrup (HFS) also known as ‘isoglucose’ – a liquid mixture of approximately equal parts of glucose and fructose from wheat or potato starch is used sometimes to sweeten foods and drinks and has about the same sweetness as sucrose.

    SUGARS AND SOFT DRINKS
    Non-alcoholic beverages are a diverse group of products. Some are carbonated, while others are still. Some contain sugar and others do not and the levels of sugar can vary considerably from one beverage to another.

    Some beverages contain non-caloric sweeteners (See Intense Sweeteners).

  • Sweeteners

    Sweeteners, also known as low-calorie sweeteners and artificial sweeteners, are used to provide sweetness of taste without the calories.

    There are many types of sweeteners including aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K, neotame, neohesperidine DC, cyclamates and saccharin.

    Only approved sweeteners may be used in food and drink products and they are subjected to a lengthy and vigorous evaluation procedure before such approval is given. A consumer benefit must also be shown before a sweetener is added to the permitted list of sweeteners.

    In the EU the European Food Safety Authority must provide a scientific assessment on all sweeteners. Safety assessments are also carried out by numerous national and international food safety authorities including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as regulatory agencies in many countries worldwide.

    Sweeteners and Soft Drinks
    Sweeteners are used in no- and low-calorie soft drinks in order to provide sweetness without calories.

    Soft drinks sweetened with a low-calorie sweetener can play a useful role in helping people to manage their calorie intake as a part of a sensible and healthy lifestyle. Some 40% of soft drinks sales in the EU are in the no- or low-calorie category.

    The soft drinks industry is always seeking to improve its offering to consumers by developing alternative products using new sweeteners which satisfy the demands of consumers to be excellent tasting, natural and low in calories. New sweeteners can only be used after approval has been obtained from the EU Commission based on EFSA’s scientific assessment.

  • Syrup

    A syrup is a thick, viscous liquid, which contains a large quantity of dissolved sugars. Syrups are frequently used in making up many beverages, as they overcome the difficulty of dissolving crystalline sugar in cold liquids, as the sugar is already in liquid form.

    In bars a ‘soda gun’ is often used to dispense popular drinks and well known brands using water, carbon dioxide and the drink flavouring in the form of a syrup. These are known as ‘post mixes’ and allow for a number of syrups to be available to offer a range of brands from a single dispenser.

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  • Thirst

    Non-alcoholic beverages are a popular way to quench thirst. The sensation of thirst is experienced by both humans and animals and provides the instinct to drink. Normally, thirst is a reaction of the body to falling fluid levels as well as an increase in salt concentration, which triggers a reaction in the brain to seek fluids. This is often caused by exercise and heat.

    It is not just water that is lost when a thirst develops and essential minerals can also be lost. Some isotonic drinks are less thirst quenching so you will keep drinking a sports drink long after water has lost its appeal, increasing your likelihood of proper hydration. Furthermore, the presence of mild acids, such as citric acid, can add a sharpness to the background taste and enhance the thirst-quenching effect by stimulating saliva flow.

    Excessive thirst can eventually lead to dehydration. This can cause a number of problems when exercising including dizziness, fatigue, diarrhoea or vomiting. Anyone suffering from mild dehydration may wish to consider drinking an isotonic drink, to help redress any imbalance in body’s electrolytes excessive dehydration can be potentially fatal.

  • Tonic Water

    Tonic water, also known as Indian tonic water, is a carbonated drink containing quinine. The drink has its origins as a malaria prophylaxis (hence ‘Indian’) but now has a significantly lower quinine content and is drunk for its distinctively bitter taste. The original medicinal tonic water originally contained only carbonated water and a large amount of quinine. Nowadays, however, modern tonic water nowadays contains considerably less quinine, and lends only flavour and no medicinal benefit. These versions are much less bitter, and are also usually sweetened, either with natural sweeteners such as corn syrup or sugar, or low-calorie sweeteners to make a diet or light version.

    Tonic water is a vital component of the gin and tonic, but is also a popular soft drink in its own right, often served with a slice of lemon or lime.

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  • Variety

    Non-alcoholic beverages are a diverse group of products, including carbonated drinks, still and dilutable drinks, fruit juices, nectars and bottled waters. Some contain sugar, others contain non-caloric sweeteners and yet others are unsweetened. And even the sugar levels of beverages containing sugar vary considerably from one beverage to another. The same goes for energy content, with many non-alcoholic beverages having only a negligible calorie value. In other words, non-alcoholic beverages cannot be classified as one homogenous group.

    The basic ingredient of a non-alcoholic beverage is always water. Sometimes a sweetener and a flavour are added. Water represents about 90% of sugar-containing carbonated drinks (even more for low-calorie versions) and of fruit juices and 100% of bottled waters.

    Non-alcoholic beverages are consumed because they are thirst quenching, as an accompaniment to a meal, for pure enjoyment, for hydration, as an alternative to alcoholic beverages or just for fun.

    Beverages are consumed at all times of the day. What is preferred as a drink during the morning may not be the liquid of choice during the afternoon or evening. Offering a variety of beverages to meet differing consumer requirements throughout the day is therefore very important.

    The non-alcoholic beverages industry is constantly developing innovative flavours. The wide range of flavours has expanded far beyond colas and fruit flavours and consumers can now choose from flavours such as herbs, plant extracts and tea. Producers are creating versions with reduced sugar, as well as “light”, sport drinks, new age and “energy” drinks and sparkling and still waters, with and without added flavours. Beverages include diet, low calorie and no added sugar variants. Fortified drinks provide extra vitamins, minerals and other functional ingredients to consumers that choose them.

    Every food and beverage plays a role in a balanced diet. The great variety of non-alcoholic beverages includes sugar-containing, low-calorie and non-calorie beverages. This variety, along with clear and precise labelling, enables individuals to buy the beverage that is appropriate for their lifestyle and physical activity levels. Thanks to such a variety and choice, there is a non-alcoholic beverage to suit every age group, thirst, taste and situation.

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  • Water

    Water is a key resource for non-alcoholic beverages. Water represents some 90% of a carbonated soft drink – even more in low calorie versions – and our products make an important contribution to hydrating consumers.

    The industry recognises the value of water in local societies and seeks to constantly reduce the amount of water it uses in production and to optimise that use by recycling water as much as possible. We also work hard to protect watersheds and conserve water.

  • Water Protection

    The non-alcoholic beverages industry takes a proactive approach to protecting watersheds and promoting efficient agricultural water use.

    UNESDA members work with local communities, schools and NGOs to run community water access programmes to protect and conserve watersheds and educate communities. Sometimes actions are long-term, strategic partnerships with sustained support and sometimes they are tactical programmes such as cleaning up river banks or planting trees.

  • Water Recycling

    In order to conserve water used in the production of soft drinks UNESDA members recycle much of the water used in the production of their products. Water from production processes such as cooling and rinsing is reused internally for the cleaning of crates and trucks, for the washing of floors and even for watering the landscape.

    UNESDA members are committed to treating wastewater and ensuring that all the water used in manufacturing processes is returned safely to the environment at a quality that supports fish and plant life.

    Companies either build wastewater treatment plants or work in partnership with third parties and local authorities to manage and control all water used in the manufacture of their products.

    Natural solutions for returning wastewater to the purity of rainwater are also available now, with plants such as reeds, irises, bamboos and rushes used in a process called phytorestoration which retains organic matter and filters phosphorus and nitrogen. This process significantly reduces both the use of chemicals and the consumption of energy.

  • Water Reduction

    The non-alcoholic beverages industry constantly seeks to reduce the amount of water it uses in the production of its products.  The amount of water used to produce a beverage is known as the ‘water ratio’, and is one of the industry’s main environmental Key Performance Indicators.

    On average the bottling of non-alcoholic beverages uses a little over two litres of water per litre of finished product.  This ratio has been significantly reduced by the major companies since 2004 and bottling sites continue to implement measures for further reduction including developing new equipment and processes with suppliers.

    The ratio will vary depending on the type of beverage, the size and type of packaging and the efficiency of the production facility.  In Europe the ratio typically ranges from as little as 1.2 litres for every litre produced to 2.8 litres.

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