The Importance of Color Measurement in Food Industry

November 15, 2023

Due to its significant impact on consumer preferences for food items, ensuring exact consistency in color is crucial. The color of food is closely linked to the biological, chemical, and physical transformations that occur throughout its growth, maturation, post-harvest, and processing stages. Color Measurement of food proves to be a rapid and precise method of quality control, offering simplicity and speed, while also indirectly reflecting other essential product attributes.

The Significance of Color Measurement in the Food Sector

Color holds immense significance in the food and grocery industry as it communicates flavor, quality, and freshness – three crucial aspects that influence customers’ purchasing decisions. As consumers primarily rely on color for product evaluation before buying, meticulous attention is required throughout the processing stages, from ingredient measurement to production and final packaging. Given the prevalence of processed foods on grocery store shelves, any inconsistency in manufacturing can have a cascading negative impact on an entire brand.

To ensure precision, food processing companies employ color measurement devices to assess a diverse array of fresh and processed food items, encompassing fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, spices, flavorings, sugar, grains, cereals, syrups, and more. These devices serve as the most reliable and consistent quality control methods in the food processing industries

Methods for Testing and Measuring Food Colors

As a material’s color is determined by reflected light, the visual appearance of a food item can be influenced by factors such as the quality and quantity of light, as well as the observer’s viewing angle. This underscores the significance of strategic food placement on grocery store shelves.

Two widely used instruments for measuring food color are colorimeters and spectrophotometers. Colorimeters gauge color by assessing the three primary components — red, green, and blue — while spectrophotometers analyze the actual color within the visible light wavelength discernible to the human eye.

The visible light spectrum encompasses the range of wavelengths, from 380 to 700 nanometers, that the human eye can perceive.

Food Color Measurement using Hunterlab Instrument

The Aeros device incorporates a revolving sample platform and advanced Smart sensor technology with automatic height positioning, enabling seamless adjustments for enhanced measurements. Additionally, Aeros performs non-contact measurements on foods, mitigating the risk of contamination and streamlining the cleanup process.

At HunterLab, we’ve created a specialized tool for measuring the color of tomato-based foods such as tomato sauce, paste, soup, and ketchup – the ColorFlex EZ Tomato. Utilizing circumferential 45°/0° geometry, it mimics the human visual response to these food items. 

The built-in software features familiar Tomato Scores like the Tomato Catsup Score (TCS), Tomato Paste Score (TPS), Tomato Soup Score (TSS), Tomato Juice Score, Tomato Sauce Score (TSS), Fresh Tomato Color Index (FTCI), A/B ratio, and Lycopene index.

The MiniScan EZ 4500, a compact and lightweight portable device, employs 45°/0° measurement geometry to ensure precise and consistent measurement of food color. Its integrated software includes vital color scales such as CIE Lab*, CIE LCh, Hunter L,a,b, and Baking Contrast Units (BCUs). Additionally, it has the capacity to store up to 800 sample measurements and 100 product setups.

Primarily utilized for meats, poultry, pork, fish, bread, and tomatoes, the MiniScan EZ 4500 offers versatility in food color measurement.

The Vista device stands out with its distinctive capability to measure edible oil samples in square and rectangular cuvettes, along with round vials. It efficiently measures haze and transmission color, adhering to ASTM D1003 Procedure B, in a single measurement that takes less than seven seconds.

Vista precisely records standard 1-inch and 5.25-inch LOVIBOND® RYBN. Functioning as a color reader for AOCS RY results, Vista expedites the measurement process, reducing both waste and cleanup time.

HunterLab is now available across Maha Asia.


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