The Truth About HPP Juice

The Truth About HPP Juice

The Truth About HPP Juice

If you have purchased a major brand of cold-pressed juice lately, chances are it has undergone the process of HPP (High Pressure Processing). Since there is some confusion about the technology I want to describe the process of HPP,  dispel a few myths, and finally discuss why HPP is important and how it has helped our industry.

The Process of HPP

HPP is a processing step that extends shelf life and kills at least 99.999% of the microorganisms in juice. This is referred to as a “5 log reduction”. Here is the process:

  1. Raw juice is made on a juice press or other type of juicer, then bottled in plastic bottles. (HPP is not the process of making juice itself, but rather a secondary processing step).
  2. The plastic bottles of juice are loaded into a giant chamber that fills with water and pressurizes the bottles up to 85,000 PSI. To put this pressure in perspective, if you were to tie a rock to a bottle of juice and sink it to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, you would only achieve 1/5th of the pressure created in an HPP machine.
  3. The pressure maintains between one minute and several minutes depending on settings, then de-pressurizes.
  4. When the bottles come out the other end, they now contain almost no living microbial content, and now have a shelf life of about 30-45 days, instead of raw juice which is normally 3-5 days.  The two major benefits are a safer juice product, and that retail stores can keep the juice on their shelf for much longer without it going to waste. Beyond these benefits, it is actually FDA law that juice must undergo a process like HPP or heat pasteurization in order to be distributed wholesale to re-sellers. If the maker is selling direct to consumer, this process is not required.

The 4 Myths:

Myth 1: Companies must put HPP on the label if it has been used to process the juice.

HPP, heat pasteurization, and other preservation methods are not required to go on the juice label in the US [EDIT: There is an exception for pasteurized orange juice]. Most juice companies choose to put it on the label so consumers know that what they are buying has been processed to make it safer than raw juice. There are many beverage companies who do not put HPP on the label, and some which refer to it under other names such as “Cold-Pressured” or “Pascalization.”

There were some lawsuits made public a few years ago when some cold-pressed juice companies were labeling the product as “100% Raw” and “Unpasteurized” even though it had been through HPP. Although it wasn’t against the law to label the product as raw, the plaintiffs claimed that the juice companies were deceiving their customers.

If you are unsure if juice is raw, look for this warning, as it is required by law to put on the label for raw juice:

“WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

Myth 2: HPP does not heat the juice.

When juice or any other liquid is pressurized, there is heat created. This type of heating is called “adiabatic heating.” According to the FDA, “HPP treatment will increase the temperature of foods through adiabatic heating approximately 3 °C per 100 MPa.” Juice is pressurized up to 600 MPa, which means that the juice is heated by up to 18 °C (32 °F) from its starting temperature.

Once the juice is depressurized, it immediately comes back down to it’s starting temperature (adiabatic cooling). For example, if the juice goes into the chamber at 45 °F than it can reach 77 °F for a few minutes while under pressure. This is still much less heat than thermal pasteurization temperatures, which are over 160 °F, although only for about 15 seconds.

Myth 3: HPP doesn’t affect nutritional or enzyme content.

According to some studies, HPP has at least a minor affect on nutrient content, with “remaining contents in the range of 87% to 100%.” Enzyme residual activity varies depending on the enzyme being tested and the settings of the HPP process, with majority of residual activity levels “lying in the 20%-60% range.”

It should also be noted that these tests were done immediately after the HPP process, and whether these numbers hold up several weeks later is questionable. Nutrients in raw juice begin to break down in a matter of days, so I assume this is the same with HPP juice, however I cannot find any data on this so it is only my opinion.

Myth 4: HPP juice is always cold-pressed.

As I stated above, HPP is not the process of actually making the juice, but rather a secondary processing step. Just because juice has gone through HPP does not mean it has been cold-pressed. In fact, many HPP “juices” contain purees, smoothies, powders, or other ingredients which are not cold-pressed at all.

Adding to this confusion is the new term “Cold-Pressured.” Within the last couple of years this term has been showing up on beverage products to refer to HPP.  “Cold-Pressured” looks so similar to “Cold-Pressed” that I believe this is confusing consumers, and in my opinion should not be used to refer to HPP.

Whether or not I agree with the terms being used, I do think HPP is an important technology and has helped grow the cold-pressed juice industry in the US first, and now world-wide.

Why HPP is Important:

1. HPP makes cold-pressed juice more accessible.

Prior to the use of HPP in the juice industry, it was a mission to find cold pressed juice in most parts of the country, excluding the coastal cities. You had to either hunt down a specialty shop, or be satisfied with juice in the grocery store that had been heat pasteurized. HPP has allowed cold-pressed juice companies to distribute their juice to every part of the country without sacrificing too much of the desired qualities of the juice. The taste, color, texture, and nutrient content of the juice are generally better than heat pasteurized juice, while still extending shelf life substantially (although not as long as heat pasteurization).

2. HPP juice is safer than raw juice.

As discussed in the beginning of this article, HPP successfully achieves a 5 log reduction of microorganism in juice. These potentially harmful bacteria include E. Coli, salmonella, and other bad things. If harmful bacteria does exist in the raw juice, HPP can usually make it safe.

HPP Industry Links

Hiperbaric – HPP equipment manufacturer
Hiperbaric tolling centers – These facilities can HPP your products for a fee.
Avure – HPP Equipment Manufacturer
Avure tolling centers – These facilities can HPP your products for a fee.
Joyce Longfield – HPP industry expert and food regulation consultant. If you are looking for information on where and how to access HPP for your products, Joyce is the best resource I know of.
coldpressure.org – HPP trade organization

Agree or disagree with anything I’ve said here? Please comment below and join the discussion!

Charlie 's profile image

About The Author

I’ve been around juicing all my life. My Dad built his first hydraulic juice press in 1976 and founded the company Goodnature Products, Inc. I have incredible memories of having “cider parties” when we would invite all the people in our rural neighborhood over to make apple juice. To this day, when I taste apple juice made on a Goodnature press, a rush of nostalgia runs through my body.

I pride myself on guiding our clients into the world of cold-pressed juice and showing them how much fun this industry can be. I love talking business, technology, and marketing.

Follow me on twitter @cwjuice

25 Responses

  1. Myth #1 is not a myth per CFR 21 all juices that are pasteurized or treated must state that on the label. In fact the process must be no smaller than 1/2 the size of the word juice on the front panel.

    Reply

    1. Matt, are you referring to this section? http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=146.140

      From what I can tell, that is only specific to pasteurized orange juice. Can you point to other information?

      Thank you for the feedback.

      Reply

  2. Hi Charlie. Great article! A couple of things to keep in mind: 18° C = 64° F.

    If HPP kills 99.9% of the bacteria, it is killing all the ‘good’ bacteria from fresh produce along with the bad. So if HPP juice is your only choice, then yes, it is better than a Gatorade. But it is still much less beneficial than a non-HPP, cold-pressed juice. Cheers!

    Reply

    1. Barth, yes you’re right 18 C is 64 F, but an increase of 18 C is not an increase of 64 F. Calculating an increase in temperature is different than converting temperature.

      I agree that raw juice is the way to go if available!

      Reply

  3. Hi Charlie! Very informative article. Is there another process that you would recommend in killing the bacteria without killing the live enzymes, HPP testing prices have gone up significantly. –best, amanda

    Reply

    1. Thanks Amanda, the only other technology I know of is UV filtering. I believe the results are slightly better, but I haven’t done extensive research on it. Here is an article http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12214/full

      Reply

  4. Sorry Charlie I disagree with you stating that HPP treated juice has the same nutritional qualities as does raw untreated juice. The fact that the shelf life is extended by weeks, even 6 weeks is tribute to the fact that the juice is not longer alive, and filled with life. The organisms in the juice, except for those that morph into e coli or… are for the most part beneficial for the human body.

    It is sad for me to see a trend to long shelf life of juice for the sake of a bottom line. The idea of fresh pressed (call it cold press or not) is to provide a rich source of dense nutrition that is instantly assimilated by the health or less healthy. The produce that were grown and reduced to juice should be honored to accomplish the maximum benefit.

    It is like you saying homogenized and pasteurized milk is a superior product to raw milk. In both cases the raw juice or milk must be consumed while fresh.

    Norman Walker who’s juicer good nature designed there’s from intended juice to be for its nutritional value…Not a commodity. Let the others do that. Pressed juice is a medicine and should be treated as so.

    Thanks,

    Alfred

    Reply

    1. Alfred, thank you for your response.

      I actually don’t believe that HPP juice has the same nutritional qualities as raw juice, and in fact I wrote the opposite in the article. And I wrote under myth #3 “It should also be noted that these tests were done immediately after the HPP process, and whether these numbers hold up several weeks later is questionable.” So, in short we are in agreement on both points.

      I don’t believe that there is an overall trend to longer shelf life. In fact, it’s the opposite. More grocery stores than ever are now making raw juice in-store, instead of selling pasteurized juice that has a 6 month shelf life or more. There are many juice companies moving from raw to HPP, but there are 10X more juice companies popping up every month that are 100% raw and local.

      I appreciate your reference to Norman Walker as was a pioneer in the industry, however Goodnature machines were designed around the traditional rack-and-cloth type press, not the Norwalk.

      Let me just say that I totally respect what you’re doing at Ascending Health and love the fact that you are sticking to raw, unprocessed juice. I would love to come visit sometime!

      thanks again

      Reply

      1. You are so welcome Charlie. And Thank You!

        We purchased an X-1 in 2009 and it still presses, like day one. To be sure Good Nature rocks…

        We would love to have you visit Charlie. Pete W. came by before the café was opened. I enjoyed catching up with him and about all the plans that were in the works for GN. Now I see the success-good on you.

        I continue to be excited and grateful to be a part of the movement of ascending health for all.

        Reply

        1. Thanks Alfred, I will be in touch

          Reply

  5. Great article Charlie. Loving all the informative blog posts. Keep ’em coming!

    Reply

    1. Thanks Bev!

      Reply

  6. Thanks Charlie and Alfred, I do agree that ‘cold pressed”in which both are on the same page in regards to the intended nutrition value for the beneficial of its intended purpose with it’s duration when served straight away as intended.

    Cool and informative .

    Regards.

    Reply

  7. Very good Article Charlie!

    In fact HPP juice is not raw anymore, but as close as possible. And the extended shelf life and safety is a good compromise for people who don’t have immediate access to juice bars.

    As a matter of fairness you should mention the third big HPP Equiment manufacturer thyssenkrupp-Uhde. You can find more information on http://www.uhde-hpp.com
    Regards.

    Reply

    1. Thanks Phillip!

      Reply

  8. hello
    hpp seems to be very expensive for a starting business in juicing , is there any machine doing the same process and what’s the price of the cheapest hpp machine
    regards
    rassim

    Reply

    1. Yes, HPP machines are very large and expensive. That’s why most juice companies don’t purchase the machines themselves, but rather pay an HPP tolling facility to process it for them, at a per-bottle rate.

      Reply

  9. HPP don´t work against spores… only low% of micro.. Shelf life were limited and cost are high por companies..

    Reply

  10. With HPP if 99.999% of microorganisms in juice is killed / eliminated, then why the self life is shorter then normal hot pasteurisation method which also eliminates 99.999% of microorganisms, but the shelf life a very long. if the juice is in sterile state then there would be no bacterial activities for the product to spoil.

    Reply

    1. 5 log reduction is the minimum that needs to be achieved. Heat pasteurization can achieve a much greater log reduction, even making juice shelf stable without refrigeration. HPP can also achieve greater than 5 log reduction, but I don’t believe it an make juice shelf stable. It might be possible though.

      Reply

  11. Hi Charlie, as you responded: “Nutrients in raw juice begin to break down in a matter of days, so I assume this is the same with HPP juice, however I cannot find any data on this so it is only my opinion.” Is there any chance you could do a test with nutrients on coldpressed HPP and see what the numbers would be after a longer time, 3 weeks or so.?
    Regards Toril Merete from Norway

    Reply

    1. Guelph institute in Canada is working on this now. hopefully will have some data in a couple of months…

      Reply

  12. Thank you for being a transparent company helping to educate those of us in this cold pressed juice industry! Joyce Longfield aka JLo is also an amazing resource and has helped me so much!

    Reply

  13. Hi Charlie,
    Thanks for all the info.
    So if I understand correctly, you can’t sell raw juice in a supermarket without HPP or similar process since the supermarket is a reseller.
    So when you say companies are going raw, how are they selling it? Online? Brick and mortar? Is there another option?

    Reply

    1. Yes, you’re correct. Under FDA regulations you can sell raw juice direct to consumer, whether it by brick and mortar, delivery, at a farmer’s market, etc. If you own a juice factory and a bunch of stores, you can manufacture the juice in your factory, transport it to your stores, and sell it from there, since technically you’re still selling direct to consumer as your company both makes the juice and sells it, even though it’s out of different brick and mortar locations. If you want to sell wholesale you will need to look into a preservation method like HPP or pasteurization.

      Reply

Leave a response