16 July 2015
Depending on the country, apple sauce can be eaten or used in a variety of different ways; as a condiment, a dessert or used in baking, not to mention as a remedy. With it being the favourite food stuffs of a wide variety of people in different countries, quality should be the main focus of manufacturers and what says quality more than consistency?
The reason for measuring appearance and colour of a product such as apple sauce is to ensure that whatever goes onto a supermarket shelves looks the same as the other products from the same manufacturer. It would be extremely off-putting to a potential customer if one container housed a product with a yellowish hue whereas the one next to it appeared brown.
Colour measurement can be an indicator of varying methods of production such as differing ingredients or quantities added and a difference in cooking times. If an issue is found with the end product, it may be that colour testing is done throughout the manufacturing process to pinpoint what, if any, errors are being made.
Analysing the appearance of any product needn’t be complicated, least of all apple sauce. Regardless of consistency, its analysis can be achieved simply and without interfering with the production process. Here are some key points to note:
A reflectance measurement spectrophotometer would be an ideal tool for the job, such as a ColorFlex EZ. This self-contained instrument is capable of storing up to 250 set-ups; more than enough for any number of recipes. Depending on how thorough operatives want to be, it can be used with EasyMatch QC software for an easier view on data analysis and a clearer idea of any issues with the product.
Number of samples
The more samples analysed from a batch, the more accurate the representation of that batch. Taking a single measurements could give a general idea of the batch’s hue but cannot give a completely accurate depiction of its quality. An ideal methodology would include at least four samples to be tested from a batch to create an average.
For a quick and simple method that can benefit a quality control process and not slow it considerably, the best method would be to use a glass sample cup with a ring and disc set. This would allow half of the sample cup to be filled with the sample and a white backing disc to be placed on top for measurements. Having this backing disc would mean any samples with a more translucent rather than opaque quality could still be measured accurately.
Once the samples are prepared, they should be placed onto the instrument and a measurement taken. To allow for variations in sample appearance, a broader view of the batch should be acquired. To do this, and average should be set of no fewer than three measurements but ideally the more the better. The sample can either be turned between each measurement if the amount of sample available for testing is limited or separate samples from the batch can be taken and alternated between measurements. This data can be combined into an average or left as individual measurements to build up a database of a batch using samples at varying points throughout production.
Regardless of the method used and the purpose of the results, the use of a spectrophotometer should be beneficial to a manufacturer and help in the quality control process. A spectrophotometer should provide clear, concise data giving an exact representation as to a batch’s quality without a great deal of work by the operator.
Content Written by Rachael Stothard