No matter what part you play in the food chain, knowing your ingredients is critical. In the food industry, a product’s success or failure is usually based upon subjective, qualitative attributes such as taste and texture.
The FlowCAM can help decrease time to market by offering the ability to collect quantitative data in the laboratory that can be correlated to qualitative data such as taste and mouth-feel.
Ensure the contents of your product, detect process flaws early, and enhance R&D efforts using the FlowCam. For use in both research and development and production settings, the FlowCam can be used for analyzing:
Taste and texture cannot be directly measured, so you need to rely on “tasting panels” in order to gather information on prospective products. This is both time consuming and expensive.
It's well documented that particle size, and more importantly particle shape, correlate directly to the taste and mouth-feel of a food product. FlowCam can help you determine the optimum size and shape of the particles in your product, and then enable you to quickly analyze batches to ensure they meet the standard.
FlowCam can help decrease time to market by offering the ability to collect quantitative data in the laboratory that can be correlated to qualitative data such as taste and mouth-feel.
Most particle analyzers show you a distribution of particle size only. FlowCam gives you a picture and data for every particle measured. You can filter and sort particle images just like you would in a spreadsheet. Plus powerful pattern recognition algorithms within FlowCam's VisualSpreadsheet® software, you can easily identify and count individual particle types in a heterogeneous sample.
All this happens at a very rapid rate - typically up to 10,000 images/minute.
The manufacturer of a barbecue sauce needed to quantify particles in a pulp from one of its ingredients, to ensure that they were relatively uniform in size and shape after mixing and homogenization, as it greatly affects taste and mouth-feel.
In order to isolate these particles from all of the others in the sample, a library of the desired particle type was built and stored. Then VisualSpreadsheet® performed a statistical pattern recognition operation, to automatically find the particles that matched the desired particle type. The image to the right shows the ideal pulp particle as imaged by the FlowCam.
The analysis concluded that 55 particles out of several thousand total were determined to be of the desired type. The FlowCam provides the concentration and summary statistics for the desired particles only, omitting the other particles in the sample. This same statistical comparison can then be performed on other samples for comparison, eliminating the operator bias and error found in manual microscopy.
Since many more particles can be counted in much less time, the statistical confidence of the results will be much higher. By using an automated analysis with FlowCam, the manufacturer was able to rapidly study the effects of several different variables in the manufacturing process, such as mixer speed, homogenization time, and temperature.
A beverage manufacturer was interested in characterizing size, shape, and concentration of large pulp particles in their juice. They had previously done this manually, but it was very time-consuming. Using the FlowCam, they could characterize thousands of particles automatically in a matter of minutes. The below image shows results of FlowCam run with fruit juice sample. The left-hand window shows summary statistics and graphs, and the right-hand window shows selected images of juice pulp.
FlowCam provides a method to quickly check the quality of incoming raw materials, including sorbitol. Sorbitol has many uses, the most common being as a sugar substitute, and its application is often dependent upon particle size and shape. Below are the results of a FlowCam run of a sorbitol sample. Left-hand window shows summary statistics and graphs, and the right-hand window shows selected images of sorbitol particles.