Manufacturers in the beverage industry use emulsion (a.k.a. emulsification) in order to achieve desired drinkability standards, as well as control the visual appeal of the final product (e.g. viscosity, clarity, transparency, etc.).
In creating these ideal beverages, manufacturers have to keep in mind that efficiently mixing things that do not naturally want to mix (like oil and water products) and keeping these mixes from separating for a longer period of time can make all the difference.
Generally, there are 3 steps in preparing beverage emulsion: preparing the water phase and the oil phase; pre-homogenization; and homogenization. Below, we provide a brief overview of each step.
Step 1: Preparing the Water Phase and the Oil Phase
Preparing the water phase involves making a complete solution by dissolving the correct amounts of preservative, citric acid, coloring and gum. These ingredients must be added in this order (starting with preservative and ending with gum) to ensure that full dissolution is achieved.
Preparing the oil phase involves fully dissolving the weighted agent in the oil. The correct ratio of weight agent to oil depends on the amount that is allowed per regulation in the finished beverage. Generally, manufacturers will use the maximum allowable amount of weighting agent.
Step 2: Pre-homogenization
In the pre-homogenization step, the water is mixed with the oil (per step 1 described above) to create a premix, which breaks the oil into small oil droplets. Generally, the better the quality of the premix, the better the resulting emulsion. This is because low quality premix will have larger particles than a high quality premix, and thus during homogenization (step 3), more energy will be required to break the particles down – thus reducing the amount of energy that can be allocated to break down even smaller particles.
Therefore, by having equipment that can break down both premixes into the smallest possible particles, it will take less time and money to break these down further in Step 3 and to ensure that they’ll stay together as a mixture for a long time.
Step 3: Homogenization
During the homogenization step, the premix created in step 2 is pumped through the homogenizer’s valves at very high pressure. This creates turbulence and cavitation forces, which break the oil droplets down into fine particles.
Two-stage homogenization is required for beverage emulsions, in which the second stage provides back-end pressure that is controlled to achieve optimum efficiency, and also helps control the product’s viscosity.
BEE International’s Homogenization Technology
Bee International’s proprietary homogenization technology delivers unprecedented beverage emulsion results. In fact, we specialize in oil and water emulsions, mixing the formula to achieve better results in less time. Our innovative equipment is trusted by beverage manufacturers worldwide because it consistently:
Achieves the required particle size, with droplet sizes of approximately (or below) 100 nm (0.1 micron)
Creates particles so small and uniform, that beverages can be sterilized by running them through a 0.22 micron filter
Creates stable emulsions with particles at equilibrium
Extends product shelf life, which can dramatically lower costs and increase revenues