Here, we will introduce two food applications that have foreseeable growth potential due to functionality and convenience being the key trends in food and drinks, which provide consumer benefits, saving both time and effort. These benefits also include health, freshness, taste, versatility and ethical benefits, and are often referred to as products that suit particular needs.
Polydextrose (trade names Sta-Lite or Litesse) is normally utilized as a sucrose replacement in conjunction with high intesity sweeteners, such as sucralose (Splenda®) or aspartame (Nutirisweet®). It is effectively used as a low calorie bulking agent in foods such as ice-cream, hard and chewy candies, nutrition and supplement bars, and beverages. Polydextrose is a polysaccharide composed of randomly crosslinked glucose with all types of glycosidic bonds, containing minor amounts of bound sorbitol and acid.
In recent years, it has become popular in food and drinks aimed at health-conscious consumers. But the ingredient also has a high fibre content, offering manufacturers the opportunity to add fibre functionality to "no added sugar" and "reduced calorie" food and drink products.
K-Patents has managed to enter the polydextrose business with an order of six Process Refractometers to Europe's first polydextrose production plant. The new facility, based in the Netherlands, manufactures a range of different soluble fibers, including polydextrose, which are marketed under the Sta-Lite brand.
There is significant potential for refractometers with other polydextrine manufacturers. The latest consumer research has revealed, that two out of three European consumers thought about eating a healthy diet more often than they did two years ago.
A German salad dressing producer makes 15-20 different salad dressings (French, American etc.). Each dressing has its own recipe. The quality control parameters for each recipe and batch are:
These are all, except for pH and Brix, measured manually by taking samples. The ingredients are mixed by weight and some by volume.
The producer purchased a K-Patents probe type Sanitary Refractometer PR-23-AP and installed it in the mixing tank, where they feed all ingredients based on their weight. Typical values are 10-45 Brix. The benefit of the in-line Brix meter is its quick response time and lesser need of manpower. Individual mixing batch may only take 5-20 minutes, so they can get an instant Brix reading and there is no need to run to the lab so often. Also, the total number of lab samples is significantly lower.
The Brix measurement serves as a quality and safety tool. If Brix is out of specs, the operators can start analyzing what is going wrong. Along with the automation, the whole processing time has been reduced.
The producer's headquarters is located in Hamburg, and other domestic locations are Berlin, Cuxhaven, Hagenow, Hamm, Schweinfurt and Straelen. The foreign locations are Dijon (France), Ullerslev, Randers (Denmark), Istanbul, Afyon (Turkey), Tel Aar (Holland) and Walbrzych (Poland).