Why Processed Food Manufacturers are Worried About Color Consistency?

Reviewed by Anurag Mishra (Sr. Technical Consultant)

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In this busy lifestyle, our diet charts are slowly incorporating processed food. And the dependency is rising at such an extent that sometimes it becomes matter of concern. Due to processing techniques, sometimes ingredients lose their natural colors. Hence, additives are added to maintain the consistency. This is actually now becoming a challenge for the food processing companies.

The natural color of the raw ingredients varies due to difference in harvesting techniques. To boost the production of raw material, some use advanced techniques while other use unethical methods. When good quality raw materials are used, they produce variation in the color of final product. Thus, color measuring devices like spectrophotometer or colorimeters are used to maintain the color consistency.

Due to different processing conditions, the final color of the product varies. Sometimes due to conditions of the processing or sometimes due to processing stages. The way oxidation of fruits and vegetables affect the color, but they are fit to consume. Similarly, different conditions like temperature have some other impact on the ingredients of the product. Here, adjustments are needed to bring the uniformity in the coloration. Food colour measurement companies implementing different methodology for controlling color variations.

Regulatory authorities are getting stricter with the usage of color additives in the food items. Thus, manufacturers are looking out for alternatives of the coloring agents that does not produce any discrepancy in the product. There are many naturally occurring ingredients that are available and can be used successfully in place of synthetic colors. Annatto seeds are perfect example of this, can be used for creating yellow effect. However, this implementation is not that simple. Precise color quantification need to be done before implementing the changes. The color manager need to prepare the color recipe. Since natural coloring agents are growing naturally and their color may vary. So, a lot of accuracy is required. This process is complicated but simple and economic tools are offered by Testronix to make the task easy.

When natural coloring agents are brought into use, they might be fulfilling the parameters according to datasheets, but may create discrepancy in real working conditions. To eliminate the difference, spectrophotometers are used. This device efficiently matches the samples with master. This device operates on very simple principle. It has a light and a sensor or eye source. The light reflected by the surface is measured by eye source and displayed on the screen. This is a portable handheld device and perfect for using in assembly line.

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