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Measuring the Brix of Diet or Sugar-Free Drinks

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Food & Beverage

Beverage manufacturers around the world are focusing new product development on sugar reduction programmes because the sugar content in soft drinks is such a grave health risk. The prevalence of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, continues to escalate.

South Africa now has the highest rate of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa, with 7 out of 10 women above age 35 being overweight, according to the latest research by Wits.  7% of adults aged 21 to 79 in South Africa – 3.85 million people – have diabetes.

The proposed tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages in South Africa will probably be implemented in April 2018, after much debate with various stakeholders. They are starting with a lower rate of taxation and plan on increasing the rate each year.

Proposed Sugar Tax for Beverages in South Africa:

  • The first 4g of sugar per 100ml are exempt from the sugar tax
  • Thereafter, every gram of sugar above 4g will be taxed at 2.1 cents

Many beverage companies in South Africa have already reduced the sugar content in beverages. Coca-Cola has reduced the can size from 330 ml to 300 ml and the bottle from 500 ml to 440 ml. Pioneer Foods have introduced new low sugar variants in the Lipton and Ceres ranges.

A consistent, good quality product is still an important requirement in the beverage company. A stable, constant brix level is one of the most important quality control indicators.

A refractometer that has especially been developed for very low concentration solutions can be used to measure the brix of sugar-free or diet drinks.

refractometer

Refractometers suitable for Diet / Low Sugar Drinks:

Various refractometers have been specially designed to measure reduced sugar drinks, so that beverage manufacturers are able to maintain consistent quality and taste.

Generally speaking, select one according to the level of accuracy you require. A handheld refractometer will usually be accurate up to one or two decimal places, whereas a bench-top refractometer is more sophisticated for extreme precision.

In-line refractometers are the ultimate solution, because they provide results in real time, thus preventing wasted batches.

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