Part of the Oxford Instruments Group
Food Analysis

Measurement Methods

Measurement techniques are required in all aspects of the food industry, from research and development (R&D) through to quality assurance (QA) during processing, and finally quality control (QC) of the finished product; they are also required for food authentication. Benchtop NMR provides measurement methods for each stage that quantify physical properties or composition (chemical analysis), to ensure product quality and prevent food fraud.

Food Composition and Authenticity

Our X-Pulse benchtop NMR spectrometer provides analysts with a tool to acquire and process high resolution spectra using a workflow approach. NMR spectroscopy enables characterisation as well as quantitative analysis of chemicals. The spectrum, or chemical ‘fingerprint’, can also be used to distinguish between chemicals with a similar composition and identify the composition of mixtures of known chemicals. With additional application software, our X-Pulse can also be used to measure fatty acid composition and coffee authentication.

Coffee is one of the most widely traded commodities in the world, however, high quality Arabica roast coffee can be adulterated with less expensive coffee types, such as robusta.

Read me: Detecting adulteration of Arabica coffee with robusta

The fatty acid composition of oils and fats is important for health (for example, high levels of polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 oils are generally considered to be good for health; high levels of saturated fats are considered unhealthy).

Read me: Determination of the fatty acid composition of triglycerides

In recent years there have been a number of scandals involving fraudulent mislabelling of meat in the human food sales chain, in order for the perpetrators to gain criminal monetary advantage.

Read me: Speciation of meat using benchtop NMR

Fat and Oil in Food

Our MQC+ fat analyser provides a rapid and solvent-free method which is well established in QA/QC laboratories for the analysis of snack food, nuts, chocolate and other food ingredients world-wide. As samples are measured with no preparation, results are much more consistent than methods which rely upon an operator to follow a multi-step wet chemistry procedure, with high temperatures, difficult and slow protocols, and use hazardous or environmentally undesirable solvents.

Fat and oil content are important measurements of nutritional value and product quality for many foodstuffs.

Read me: Determination of fat and oil content in foodstuffs

Measuring the oil content of dried snack foods is essential for quality control to ensure that the products meet their nutritional values specifications.

Read me: Measurement of oil content in dried snack foods

Cocoa beans are processed to extract cocoa liquor and cocoa butter, both major ingredients of dark and milk chocolate.

Read me: Determination of total fat in chocolate & cocoa derivatives

Solid Fat Content (SFC)

Our MQC+ solid fat analyser is simple-to-use, reproducible, and versatile. The method, which has been used for decades, involves measurement of solid fat with increasing temperature. This melting profile of a fat or blend is important for the baking, confectionary and margarine industries as it has implications toward its end use and must be controlled for a consistent product.

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Solid Fat Content (SFC) is an essential measurement for characterising edible oils/fats used in the bakery, confectionery and margarine industries for which a rapid and convenient method is required. Read more...

Read me: Determination of Solid Fat Content in edible oils and fats

Droplet Size

Our MQR droplet size analyser is by far the easiest and most reliable technique to measure droplet size in opaque samples with no preparation. Water droplet size distribution is commonly measured in margarine and other spreads and may also be measured in other food emulsions such as mayonnaise and dressings. In addition, MQR may be used for related QC measurements (oil/fat and solid fat content) as well as food research (T1/T2 relaxation and diffusion coefficients).

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In many industries, there is a requirement to reliably and simply determine the droplet size distribution in the dispersed phase of an emulsion without disrupting the sample structure. Read more...

Read me: Measurement of droplet size distribution in emulsions using benchtop NMR

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