Refractometers in the Production of Soft Drinks

Soft drinks are known by many names and come in many flavours: lemon-lime, strawberry, orange and more! Regardless of its name or flavour, the sugary solution is enjoyed by both young and old around the world.

liquid-166772_960_720The soft drink is made sweet by a variety of sugars or, in the case of diet or light versions, by sugar substitutes. Common sugars include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sucrose from the sugar cane plant. Sugar substitutes are artificial sweeteners that taste like sucrose but do not have carbohydrates. Common sugar substitutes include saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose. Regardless of the sweetener, the concentration must be monitored to obtain a desirable and consistent product. A common way to analyse the concentration of sweetener is to use a refractometer refractometer to determine the % Brix of the solution. The greater the concentration of sweetener, the greater the refractive index would be. This, in turn, yields a higher Brix value. Common Brix values for regular cola soft drinks are between 6 and 11%.


HI96801A major producer of soft drinks was in need of a refractometer to determine the sugar concentration of its products. The refractometer had to be rugged, accurate and easy to use. The HI96801 Digital Refractometer for Brix Analysis was the recommendation. This refractometer reports Brix in the 0-85% range and has an accuracy of ±0.2% . The customer liked that the meter was easy to calibrate by simply placing a couple of drops of deionized water on the prism and pressing the “Zero” button.

Taking a reading was as easy as calibrating, by placing a couple of drops of the soft drink on the prism and using the “Read” button to digitally display a temperature-compensated result. The customer liked that it is easier to use than a mechanical refractometer and that the meter is sturdy, easily sits on a bench, and is water-resistant. The customer has been pleased with the meter’s performance and has recommended it to colleagues at other plant locations.


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