Rapid and reproducible analysis of starch-based ingredients for packaged desserts

Dr. Oetker is a leading producer of packaged desserts, with more than 150 different products. Their motto is "Quality is the best recipe" and quality assurance is given the highest priority in the company. Through close coordination of chemical and microbiological testing raw materials, intermediate products and finished products are continuously tested for safety and quality. Starch based stabilizers and thickening agents are critical ingredients when producing desserts, sauces and jellies. To verify the quality of those ingredients a number of tests are performed on arrival.

Quality assurance starts with ingredient testing

In order to ensure a high and uniform product quality the properties of starches and hydrocolloids need to be verified before they enter the production process. In order to find a rapid and reproducible analysis method for these properties Dr. Oetker had an evaluation done by a university student, titled "Development and implementation of a test method to determine and characterize the technological properties of the texturizing materials in chilled dessert products". In the study four different rheological analysis systems from different manufacturers were tested. The priorities were placed on work safety, reproducibility, speed and ease of use.

Rapid analysis saves time and money

To evaluate the instruments several different native starches were used, and complete pasting profiles were created. The sample weight was adjusted to suit the different systems and multiple tests were run to evaluate the reproducibility. Already at this point the Rapid Visco Analyser (RVA) from Perten Instruments showed clear advantages according to Dr. Oetker. The functionality of the software was superior and it offered huge time savings when analyzing samples. The time savings are accomplished by the rapid heating and cooling rates of 14 ° C per minute. In practice this means that a complete pasting profile is achieved in just 13 minutes. The analysis time of the other devices tested were up to 140 minutes, which is unsuitable for a quality assurance lab with a high sample throughput.

Confidence from standardized methods

Since the RVA is very widely used in the starch processing industry, the analysis values and product specifications of incoming raw materials and semi-finished products can be tested by exactly the same method as suppliers use. The analysis results from the suppliers are in this case transferred directly and automatically compared to the analysis results of quality assurance on receival. Should there be any differences in results, a tamper-proof analysis report can be created automatically and sent to the supplier.
For some ingredients specifications naturally fluctuate due to production differences. Using the RVA it's easy to analyze each shipment and determine how to best use it, or to mix several batches to average out batch-to-batch differences.