Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

Atlas offers a range of measurement solutions and instruments for testing the photostability and lightfastness of beverages and foods. Several ingredients in food items are light-sensitive, which can produce bad odor, off-color, off-taste, or the loss of its nutrient profile in respect to vitamins.

These products include, but are not limited to:

  • Nuts, seeds and some edible oils
  • Cheese and dairy products
  • Wine, beer and flavored spirits and liqueurs
  • Citrus and other natural flavors

Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

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Product development in foods and beverages is being influenced further by millennials. They have increased the demand for the replacement of artificial flavors and colors with ‘natural’ flavors. These commonly have poorer stability when exposed to light compared to their synthetic equivalents.

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In addition, the modern consumer prefers the contents of the package to be clear so they can view what is inside prior to making a decision to purchase the product. Unfortunately, these factors frequently result in unacceptable changes to the taste, appearance, nutritional value or odor of the contents.

Examples of products that can be investigated include::

  • Cheese snack crackers in vending packages
  • Natural flavors in soft drinks
  • Milk in reusable glass containers
  • Seed and nut crackers
  • Baby food in semi-transparent retort pouches
  • Chocolate bars
  • Beer in a range of plastic and glass bottles
  • Cheese ball snacks in transparent tubs
  • Bottled alcoholic ‘beach’ beverages
  • Citrus and herb-flavored cordials, whiskey, and vodka

Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

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Testing the photostability or lightfastness of the food and beverage product itself along with the package contents results in optimized packaging decisions and product formulations and mitigates the possible risks related to unacceptable customer appeal or shelf stability.

Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Atlas supplies instrument solutions to investigate food and beverage products, product-in-packaging and ingredients, from small test samples up to 2-liter bottles.

Depending on the requirements, the light can be customized to test window-glass filtered daylight, to direct full spectrum outdoor solar radiation, artificial store lighting, or automotive interior light.

While all of the xenon instruments from Atlas can be utilized, models that are specific to Food and Drink (FD) applications have been produced that are customized to content and packaging testing.

For products that will be subjected to exposure outdoors, outdoor exposure testing can be performed at the Atlas test facilities in Miami or Phoenix.

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Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

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One key beverage manufacturer enlisted the help of Atlas to pour a glass of cola beverage and leave it exposed for 30 minutes at noon, which was then sealed and returned to them for color and flavor testing. Atlas’ commercial laboratory weathering service can also offer contract testing.

Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

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The consulting group from Atlas can advise on the most effective testing protocols along with offering recommendations on test parameters, for example, equivalence to supermarket retail exposure.

Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Atlas Solutions

The SUNTEST XLS+ & XXL+ FD and Xenotest Beta FD models from Atlas are the most commonly utilized for the testing of contents and packaging, but all of the Atlas xenon instruments can be employed for photostability and lightfastness testing.

FD models are furnished with chillers to offer temperatures that are lower compared to standard testing, frequently required for labile samples as they are prone to thermal degradation (this can be chosen for the SUNTEST XLS+ and CPS+).

Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

Testing Lightfastness of Foods and Beverages

Image Credit: Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC

The Atlas Weathering Testing Sites can also be used to test food and beverages outdoors.

Testing Standards

No international test standards are available that outline the testing standards for photostability or lightfastness in food and beverage products or ingredients.

Nonetheless, Atlas can provide guidance on the recommended test conditions for the testing requirements of the specific application.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC.

For more information on this source, please visit Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC.

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