Utilizing Spectrophotometers for the Analysis of Food Dyes in Beverages


Posted on March 8, 2017

From bright colored soda flavors to multi-colored sports drinks and even flavored spirits, today’s beverage color selections have far exceeded the normal range of hues. Not only do the unique flavor combinations help sell the product, but the analysis of food dyes in beverages also play an important role in product formulation. With only a limited number of dyes approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in foods, commercial beverage manufacturers must rely on only seven FD&C dyes to create the entire palette of artificial food colors to formulate the many color choices in today’s liquid refreshment selections1. Spectrophotometers offer a simple yet effective tool needed to maintain color consistency and quality in commercial beverages and can simplify the formulation process by quantifying and storing this information for batch-to-batch repeatability.

A Better Understanding Color Measurement

Color measurement varies based on sample type and purpose. The analysis of food dyes in beverages requires specific measurement techniques that are dependent on the sample type and transparency value of the liquid. Color appeal and consistency are critical when factoring in consumer choice and product acceptance. Quantifying color intensity is the first step for proper formulation and desired color outcomes.

Spectrophotometers allow for the most precise color measurements. Understanding your spectrophotometer and the unique sample variations can ensure that analysis of food dyes in beverages are accurately quantified for color quality and repeatability.

Using Color Data for Formulation and Repeatability

Consistency is essential for consumer acceptance and quality control. Even slight changes or alterations in color formulations can hinder perceived quality. When developing a specific color formulation, it is important to quantify color changes in relation to food dye additives. This data can then be stored and duplicated from batch to batch and can be transferred to various processing plants without the need for visual comparison. Since even slight color changes can indicate poor quality or unsafe food products, beverage color must be closely monitored to uphold the brand reputation and quality.

Spectrophotometers offer the ability to monitor color additives continually and help develop a color averaging system. Repeated data can then be used to set color standards necessary for formulation and prompt any needed changes. Using real-time color analysis allows for any color variations to be noticed quickly and formulation changes to be addressed in a timely manner, decreasing any wasted resources and improving the profit margin.

Color Quality and Consumer Acceptance

Although taste is an important factor in beverage marketability, many studies show that the visual appeal of beverages has an even greater effect on consumer choice2. Instrumental analysis of food dyes in beverages ensures that both quality and visual recognition are maintained no matter where a product is manufactured or who is performing the color evaluation. Advanced spectrophotometers take the guess work out color formulations and are both simple and easy to use.

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