How Colorimeters are Used in the Food Industry
Food that looks appealing gets bought more than food that doesn’t. Also, food that always is colored the same is more consistent in the eyes of shoppers than food that looks different every time they see it. Colorimeters are what assure that much of the food you buy has the shade you’ve come to recognize.
In the food industry, colorimeters help manufacturers track the shade of a product from the test kitchen to the production line.
Peanut butter is an example. Colorimeters are very important here, because the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates many details of this product, and the color of any given brand will have bearing on the USDA grading it receives.
The use of colorimeters allows precise color-matching: when peanut butter is being made, the manufacturer uses color cards (something like paint sample cards) supplied by the USDA to aim for the correct color, and colorimeters tell workers when the shade is off.
Baked goods are also shaded with help from colorimeters. Bread, cakes, cookies, and more all have an exact hue that manufacturers want to adhere to. An example might be hamburger buns. Imagine if you opened a package of them and everyone had a different shade. But that’s not the case, and it’s likely the bakers were assisted by a colorimeter to achieve consistency.
As the buns come down the line after baking, quality-control workers can use a colorimeter rather than their eyes or a photo to gauge the color consistency of the product. Hand-held colorimeters are programmed with the correct shade of the bun and instantly tell workers when the shade is off, even by a fraction.
As mentioned earlier, the big reason for going through all this trouble isn’t to make a product’s inherent quality better. The reason that colorimeters are so widely used is based on marketing. Shoppers shop (and buy) with their eyes.
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How does this product look compared to the last time I bought it? Do all the products in the bag or box look the same, or do they all look different? So colorimeters are marketing tools as well as color-control tools.
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A calorimeter can measure the color of virtually any food product, from packaged to fresh. Colori meters save food industry workers countless hours of inspection time and ensure that the product always looks the way it’s supposed to.
Doug Thomas is a freelance writer interested in Konica Minolta, manufacturer of Colorimeter, Spectrophotometer, and other measuring equipment. If you are also interested in finding out more about Konica Minolta, you can visit the Sensing.konicaminolta.us website to see all their sensing instruments.