Food testing business unit of Land O’Lakes rtech laboratories has seen a spike in demand to test for ingredients considered unhealthy, its technical specialist Jason Erickson told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“With front-of-pack labeling, companies are interesting in saturated fat, sodium, sugar – all these things that have been given a bad name,” Erickson said at Snaxpo 2013.
“There is quite a bit of demand because of new labeling requirements and the fact that consumers also want to know more and more about what they’re eating.”
Rtech laboratories said that these mandatory and voluntary labeling requirements have “rigorous standards” to conform to.
Erickson said there has also been a surge in testing fortified snack products, particularly those containing fiber. “Consumers want to snack, but in a healthy way,” he said.
Challenges in the laboratory
However, he said testing for added vitamins and nutritional ingredients comes with challenges.
“Vitamins are light and heat sensitive so the samples are frozen and stored away from light. We freeze most samples for testing – particularly those containing vitamins but also with sugars, because they tend to ferment.”
He said that one of the biggest challenges in the laboratory is working with variety samples – like granola bars or trail mixes – because selecting a representative sample can be difficult.
Land O’Lakes R&D
The analytical laboratory comes under Land O’Lakes research and development. Analysis is split 50/50 between company products and external client samples.
The laboratory based in Minnesota is ISO 17025 accredited. It conducts chemistry and microbiology testing right through to sensory and consumer research and nutrition labels development for clients.