Feeding the world's population is no small undertaking. It's a task made all the more challenging given today's pressures on the global food supply chain. A growing global population, climate change, sociopolitical factors and the current COVID-19 pandemic are all taking their toll on farmers and food manufacturers. Any efficiencies gained along the food production process support the security of the entire food chain and, ultimately, the consumer. There is no room for waste and no compromise on food quality.
Quality control (QC) forms a vital part of food production. For many food manufacturers, QC testing and analysis can generate waste and substantial financial costs. The global demand for easy-to-use tools to monitor and ensure the integrity and quality of foodstuffs is significant and constantly increasing.
Bruker Optics is supporting the food industry in its quest to assure quality, cut waste, and reduce time and financial costs. In essence, our instruments are helping food manufacturers to get things right first time.
We base our solutions on infrared and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, both well-established techniques. Our modern Fourier Transform NIR (FT-NIR) spectrometers can analyze liquid and solid samples for quality and composition, thereby enabling producers to test a whole range of raw food ingredients, such as edible oils, meat, flour, milk and sugar using various parameters such as moisture, fat and protein content in only one measurement.
Where previously manufacturers may have had to send samples away for testing at different production stages (goods-in, first batch, final QC before packaging/shipping), they can now perform this in house and on site. Furthermore, we have purposely designed the instruments so that users can perform real-time analyses online throughout the manufacturing chain.
In addition, by using our NIR spectrometers, production staff can take a significant amount of testing off their own QC labs, freeing up their time to focus on final product analyses. Samples for analysis can even be taken from a delivery truck in a facility's loading bay; if the results flag a poor quality or rogue ingredient, the manufacturer can reject it before it's unloaded.
Our spectrometers are small, about the size of a typical desk-top printer and, therefore, easy to move to where they're needed on site. They offer short run cycles and require no sample preparation, making them ideal for batch testing. Typically, a test takes only 20-30 seconds - a significant improvement compared to traditional analysis techniques.
Because the instruments can take many measurements and thus generate a lot of data, manufacturers can adjust their processes to ensure product consistency and further reduce waste.
The FT-NIR method itself has benefits: it is non-destructive, so there is no food waste caused by testing or delays and it does not use chemical solvents or gases in analysis (solvents in particular can leave residues even after filtering). We also offer ready-to-use calibrations to save customers from starting from scratch.
Food manufacturers across the world are using our food analysis instruments for QC in the lab and in production. By managing this vital step in-house, food manufacturers are optimizing yield and minimizing waste - and protecting valuable resources.