THE SECTOR   CITRUSBR
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Orange in the industry


After harvesting, much of Brazilian production of oranges goes to the orange processing industry, responsible for producing 53% of the juice consumed in the world. This is a process in large scale, which makes use of modern production technology combined with one of the best environments to produce the fruit on the planet.
 
The juice quality is also tested with regard to contaminants, taste and aroma. This allows a constant quality standard, while maintaining the same characteristics. The main steps are:
1. Fruit receiving: fruit samples are taken from each truck for analysis of juiciness, Brix, acidity and color.
 
2. Storage in bins: after reception and inspection, the fruits are stored in bins - storage silos.
 
3. Dry fruits: fruits go through tables where there are washing nozzles at the top and plastic brushes at the bottom to make the cleaning of the fruit, mechanically, with or without the aid of detergents.
 
4. Selection and classification: fruits are chosen by operators in the selection tables. Damaged and smashed oranges go to classifiers that separate them by size and then are forwarded to the lines of extraction.
 
5. Extraction: The fruits are separated according to their size so they can be processed by extracting lines appropriate for the size of the fruit, where the juice is extracted mechanically.
 
6. Mixing and Homogenization: After extraction and concentration, the juice is technically rated according to ideal appearance and flavour for exportation. 


The Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice (FCOJ)
 
The main product of this market, juice concentrate is the main reason for the success of the beverage in the world. Much of its water is removed from the beverage within evaporators. This process inactivates the microorganisms responsible for the degradation of the liquid.
 
After this first stage, a product that came with levels of sugars (soluble solids) ranging from 10 to 11 Brix ends with a content of 66 Brix - standard FCOJ.
 
In the process of concentration, the juice loses a fraction which contains the volatile essences.
 
After the separation process, the juice goes to an evaporator, specially developed for the citrus industry, where the volatile components are separated and then recovered, while the juice itself is concentrated to a Brix of 66.
 
The retrieved components are the essences, aqueous and oily, which are sold to companies that produce flavours and fragrances. In some cases, the juice goes through a homogenizing process, reducing its viscosity to optimize evaporation.
 
The juice concentrate is cooled and mixed with other quantities of the same product to reach an acceptable standard of quality. It then goes to storage tanks cooled to freezing temperature, which can be stored for a period of two years.
 
In the sector this system is called bulk storage tank farms sector. In these tanks the juice is stored until be transported by tanker trucks to the port.
 

The Not-From-Concentrate Juice (NFC) 
 
In mid-2000 a novelty arrived in European ports: a new kind of orange juice with characteristics somewhat different from traditional frozen concentrate juice. This is the NFC (Not-From-Concentrate) - or simply ready-to-drink orange juice.

Instead of having its water extracted during processing and then reconstituted after being bought by bottlers, this juice is pasteurized with the natural water present in the orange fruit. This is a superior product in terms of taste, since it resembles the freshly squeezed juice, a privilege that few countries can have.
 
The final product is stored for up to one year, frozen or chilled. As the Not-From-Concentrate orange juice occupies a volume of 5 to 6 times higher than the concentrate, the cost of storing it frozen is high. Therefore, its storage and distribution chain is aseptic.

Another difference comparing NFC to the concentrate juice is that it becomes solid when frozen, so it cannot be pumped. Therefore, for small amounts, NFC is packaged in drums, meaning higher costs compared to bulk sales. For large amounts of NFC, storage is usually done by aseptic tanks with capacity up to 4 million liters.
 
The juice should be stirred periodically to prevent the separation of the juice and soluble solids and maintain uniformity of Brix degrees. In Brazil, where most of the juice is destined for exportation, the aseptic tanks are installed in port terminals and not in factories. To prevent re-pasteurization of juice before boarding, technologies were developed to build ships specially designed for this purpose, allowing NFC transportation.