Why are carbonated beverages called soft drinks


Rainer Marten (CVUA Sigmaringen)


Fruit juice and fruit nectar

fruit juice is obtained from fruits by mechanical processes (pressing). It is fermentable but not fermented and has the characteristic color, aroma and taste of the fruits from which it was made.


Usually the fruit content is 100%. Although limited additions of sugar or edible acids are possible in regulated cases, if the label says "100%", it must of course also contain 100% fruit juice.


A fundamental difference arises from the type of production. Fruit juice can either be so-called "not-from-concentrate" juice. This is, as it is obtained from the fruit, after possible filtering, only made durable by heating before filling.
But it can also have been made from concentrate. In the case of fruit juice concentrate, the water is removed from the freshly squeezed juice under vacuum conditions until the juice is concentrated to about a sixth of its volume. The redilution then takes place with specially treated drinking water. Fruit juice made from fruit juice concentrate must be labeled as such.


Fruit juice is subject to characteristic fluctuations in its composition. These concern, for example, the following ingredients:

  • Mineral content,
  • Sugar content,
  • Sugar distribution (proportions of glucose, fructose, sucrose),
  • organic acids,
  • Amino acid content,
  • Flavorings and
  • Secondary plant substances such as polyphenols or anthocyanins.


By checking these components in conjunction with the sensor system, it can be determined whether it is actually a pure fruit juice, whether it has been diluted with water or whether it is a mixture of different fruit juices.


Another focus of the investigation is the review of non-approved additives (dyes, preservatives, etc.) and labeling. Samples are also examined for pesticides and mycotoxins. Increased levels of the mycotoxin patulin (formation is possible in apple juice, for example) indicate, for example, that the fruits used were already rotten before processing.


Fruit nectar is made from fruit juice in different proportions with the addition of water and types of sugar. The addition of sugar is limited to a maximum of 20%. The minimum content of fruit juice or fruit pulp is between 25 and 50%. It depends on the type of fruit, for fruits with sour juice, e.g. currants or fruits with a lot of pulp, e.g. bananas, lower contents are required.



Soft drinks

The broad term "soft drinks" includes non-alcoholic beverage groups such as

  • Fruit drinks,
  • Fruit juice spritzers,
  • Lemonades,
  • Showers, artificial hot and cold drinks (non-carbonated showers).


Fruit drinks usually contain less fruit juice than fruit nectars. The proportion depends on the type of fruit. For an orange juice drink, for example, 6% fruit content is sufficient, with other fruits this proportion is higher. In order to preserve the taste impression, the addition of sugar, fruit acids and natural flavors is permitted.


Sprinkle fruit (juice) are characterized in particular by the fact that they are carbonated. The fruit contents correspond to those of the respective nectars.


Sodas often do not contain any fruit juice at all and if so, then in significantly smaller quantities than fruit juice drinks and fruit spritzers. In addition to the ingredients already mentioned for the fruit juice drinks, other additives such as certain coloring substances, orthophosphoric acid, quinine or caffeine can also be used in lemonades.


They are a product group of their own caffeinated soft drinks, most of which can also be assigned to lemonades. The first product of this kind was made in 1886 according to a prescription by the pharmacist Pemberton as Coke ® launched on the market. The extracts of kola nut and coca leaves used were responsible for the name. Along with water, sugar, phosphoric acid, caramel and other aromas, caffeine was and is a valuable ingredient. In soft drinks containing caffeine, caffeine levels of 65 to 250 mg / L are common. Drinks with more than 250 mg / L, on the other hand, are only available as so-called energy drinks on the German market due to general decrees and exemptions.


In addition to the ingredients taurine and glucuronolactone, caffeine primarily has the task of a "pick-me-up", so that the physiological effect is in the foreground. In these drinks, an addition of a maximum of 320 mg / L has so far been permitted.


As Shower In contrast to lemonades, labeled drinks have become practically meaningless and can only be found sporadically on sales shelves.


Mineral, spring and table water

Mineral water has its origin in an underground water source that is protected from contamination and is obtained from natural or artificially developed sources. It is of original purity and must be bottled at the source in the bottles intended for the consumer.

Due to its natural content of minerals, trace elements and other ingredients, it has special nutritional and physiological effects. Depending on the rock formations flowed through and the geological properties, the minerals are available in different compositions and concentrations, resulting in a large variety of different mineral waters. In Germany alone, around 500 different mineral waters are offered.


Another important property of mineral water is that the respective composition must remain constant within the framework of small natural fluctuations. Mineral water is the only food in Germany that has to be officially recognized before it can be sold. As part of this approval process, the mineral water is checked in extensive tests with regard to its geological, microbiological and chemical properties.


Mineral water is a natural product to which nothing other than carbon dioxide may be added. Therefore, only a few treatment methods are permitted, such as the removal of sulfur and iron, which would have a detrimental effect on the quality of the mineral water in terms of smell and taste (in the case of sulfur) or optically through the formation of rust-brown particles (in the case of iron). The use of processes to change the natural germ content of mineral water is not permitted.


Mineral water must not contain pathogens. For various substances, such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, nickel, lead, antimony, selenium and barium, which can naturally be found in traces in water, there are limit values ​​that must not be exceeded.


Spring water Like mineral water, it comes from underground water sources and must also be bottled at the source. There are also no differences between mineral and spring water with regard to the approved treatment methods. In terms of its chemical composition, it must largely meet the limit values ​​that also apply to drinking water. The microbiological requirements correspond to those for mineral water; these are specified in the Mineral and Table Water Ordinance. In contrast to mineral water, however, spring water does not have to be of the original purity and does not require official approval. Carbon dioxide can also be added to spring water.


Table water is mostly made from drinking water and other ingredients. In addition to carbon dioxide, other substances such as natural salty water, sea water and table salt may be added. Table water is not a natural product and can therefore be produced and bottled at any location, although other containers, such as containers, are permitted in addition to bottles. Table water is increasingly being dispensed from tapping points of automatic water dispensers, which are directly connected to the drinking water house installation, after the addition of carbonic acid. Table water can also be called "soda water" if it contains at least 570 mg sodium hydrogen carbonate per liter in addition to carbonic acid. Table water must of course also not contain any pathogens. With regard to its chemical composition, limit values ​​are set for table water, which are also valid for drinking water If the requirements are not as high as for mineral and spring water, confusion must be avoided by means of unmistakable labeling. For example, the label of table water must not contain any information about a specific geographical origin, with the exception of the addition of brine, and must be labeled "table water" .


The main research areas for mineral, spring and table water include, in addition to the microbiological analysis, checking the pollutant limit values ​​as well as checking the material composition and comparing it with the corresponding information on the label. When determining the scope of the investigation, the sensor system (assessment of the smell, taste, appearance and texture) can provide initial clues to a contamination.
So-called "oxygenated water", which is produced from drinking water with the addition of oxygen, is currently a fad. According to the legal regulations, however, drinking water may only be enriched with oxygen up to the saturation limit. Higher contents are only permitted within the framework of temporary exemptions. Although oxygen contents of up to 150 mg / l are stated on the labels of some products, this amount could not be detected in any of the products examined. According to the prevailing scientific opinion, these amounts of oxygen supplied to the body via the digestive tract in addition to the absorption via the lungs are too small to achieve a physiological effect. To absorb the same amount of oxygen that is inhaled within an hour, more than 400 liters of "oxygenated water" with a theoretical content of 150 mg / l would have to be drunk refer to the digestive tract, inadmissible.



Article first published on 09/05/2008