Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food

Food industry studies have established that the main factors in the degradation of processed food include temperature, moisture, pH, preservatives and packaging. The industry has implemented control parameters to improve production and packaging to preserve their products and improve shelf life.

Packaging techniques help sustain a consistent environment for the product and may include sealing with minimum air headspace, vacuum sealing and nitrogen purging. The leading packaging of food products still necessitates that the product has been packed under appropriate conditions, including adequate moisture control.

Why Moisture Should be continuously Measured in Food Production

Food moisture is crucial for maintaining texture, shelf life and controlling microbial growth. Relative humidity at manufacturing plants fluctuates throughout as a result of heat build-up; it also varies depending on the time of year.

Near infrared (NIR) moisture transmitters offer dependable and precise measurements in-situ or online. The best method for guaranteeing adequate control of moisture is direct moisture measurement at each unit operation and in advance of packaging.

Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food

Image Credit: KPM Analytics

The relative humidity and temperature of food products during both the manufacturing process and when packaged influence the moisture levels of the final product and consequently the taste, crispness and shelf-life.

Certain food products – including chips, crisps, crackers, curls and cereals – necessitate stringent moisture regulations.

Extremely low moisture levels create undesired crumbling and a bite considered to be too crisp. High levels of moisture produce a soft, soggy bite at a humid picnic, and if exceptionally high, accelerates microbial growth, which produces mold.

Therefore, dryer, fryer or baking exit moisture control is crucial prior to packaging. However, moisture is not the only measurable parameter by NIR sensing technology that can impact the flavor and shelf life of food.

Oil-based flavoring sprays can also be monitored and controlled at the unit operation using NIR sensors, optimizing the product taste consistency and improving production costs.

Fat and oil measurements are also vital when monitoring hydrogenation reactions and enzymatic degradation. If the oil level is too high, it may generate a bitter taste, while oxidation levels can affect both flavor and odor in undesirable ways. Even basic cereals undergo fat oxidation.

In-process monitoring of moisture, oil-based flavorings, and additional parameters, shown here with the MCT466 on-line smart sensor, helps improve product consistency with rapid, continuous measurements.

In-process monitoring of moisture, oil-based flavorings, and additional parameters, shown here with the MCT466 on-line smart sensor, helps improve product consistency with rapid, continuous measurements. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

Take Command of the Entire Food Production Process

From the mixing of ingredients to the packaging of final products for consumers, there are a number of variables that can affect the quality of food across the whole production process.

Luckily for producers, most of these variables can be carefully monitored with the assistance of NIR technology, either in a lab setting or on the production line.

Discover more about some of KPM Analytics’ NIR sensing solutions to help enhance food shelf, flavor and consistency.

Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food

Image Credit: KPM Analytics

Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food

Image Credit: KPM Analytics

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by KPM Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit KPM Analytics.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    KPM Analytics. (2021, August 30). Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food. AZoM. Retrieved on October 16, 2021 from https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=20705.

  • MLA

    KPM Analytics. "Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food". AZoM. 16 October 2021. <https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=20705>.

  • Chicago

    KPM Analytics. "Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food". AZoM. https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=20705. (accessed October 16, 2021).

  • Harvard

    KPM Analytics. 2021. Utilizing Near-Infrared (NIR) Technology to Improve the Shelf Life and Flavor of Food. AZoM, viewed 16 October 2021, https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=20705.

Ask A Question

Do you have a question you'd like to ask regarding this article?

Leave your feedback
Submit