Color Quality Control for Peanut Butter Production


Do you know the use of colorimeters?

What is the CR-410 colorimeter?

“The USDA provides four color chips for peanut butter and we try to match the color of our peanut butter to the number three chip, with a tolerance of plus or minus.5,” said Samantha Rector, Quality Assurance Supervisor at Sunland, Inc. “The peanut butter that we produce for other private companies may perhaps require a different color combination. We needed a way to take the subjectivity of the color combinations, which was done visually according to USDA standards. I can see the color of a serving of peanut butter that is too dark, while someone else can see it as lighter.”

“We found out about a new and more reliable method that had been developed by Konica Minolta to speed up the process of evaluating the color in peanut butter, while at the same time making the process more consistent and less subjective,” said Rector.

The Konica Minolta CR400/410 series of colorimeters has the ability to program USDA grades and peanut butter color combination data into the instrument. “We can now perform a measurement of any roasted peanut or peanut butter-made peanut in a matter of seconds without having to rely on the time-consuming visual evaluation. We have eliminated the need for special sample preparation to the color standards and also the special lighting and vision conditions that were necessary to visually evaluate peanut butter”

Consistency is the goal

The CR-410 colorimeter is a sophisticated color measuring instrument that can be held in one hand only. The CR-400 series of colorimeters provides all the necessary functions to measure, compare, approve or reject, and store up to 100 patterns and 1000 samples. Available in a range of apertures (8 mm or 50 mm), the CR-400 series is ideal for measuring the reflected color and the difference between the color of ingredients, raw materials, finished products, powders, pastes and opaque liquids.

The CR-410 used by Sunland can measure peanut butter accurately and consistently with an attached standard and reporting a unique number corresponding to tokens set by the USDA for a standard color for peanut butter. The reported color numbers will indicate if the product is grade A, grade B or inferior grade according to the USDA, and in the case of Sunland, report the variation of the required color and that it is programmed for your peanut butter. The CR-400 peanut butter color meter index comes with SpectraMagic ™ NX quality control software. Sunland has the ability to store information of each batch in SpectraMagic ™ NX to track the statistics of a product batch by batch. A custom report can be printed for each batch.

Sunland measures the color of the peanuts at the grinding stage and in the final phase when it is already peanut butter and just before they are placed in the jars. “The measurement of ground peanuts helps us to know what the color is before it is converted to peanut butter,” Rector said.

Peanut butter samples are placed in petri dishes and placed on top of the Konica Minolta CR-410 and then measured. The color is adjusted by the temperature control in the oven, according to the measurement results.

“We never use dyes to adjust the color, everything is pure Valencia peanut,” Rector said. “The Konica Minolta CR-410 colorimeter has definitely saved us a lot of time and money by eliminating errors and have increased our productivity as well. “

So the next time you open a new jar of peanut butter, take a good look at its color. A lot of science was involved to ensure that you will find a consistent and high-quality product, courtesy of Konica Minolta.