Quality - industry driver

Producing and selling good quality foods to the consumer is a constant challenge that requires the whole production and supply chain to work properly for each product. The cardinal needs around food quality are to ensure good ingredients are processed, packaged and stored to present the consumer with an appetising experience. Existing challenges to food quality, such as extension of shelf life, will encourage novel, sustainable, solutions.

Explore the latest industry Quality needs below. You may also be interested in viewing our current research projects.

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Quality by popularity graph

Fundamental needs

  • Traditional ingredients and packaging materials are being replaced with novel substitutes as dietary changes (e.g. vegan foods) and sustainability drive demand. The impact of these changes on the functionality, microbiological quality and sensory quality of foods needs to be properly assessed.
  • New ways of processing foods to reduce microbial load present quality issues (e.g. bleaching from use of ozone). The use of novel processes, and improvements to existing ones, must be assessed for their sensory and microbiological impact.
  • Consumer perception of products is changing as societies become more concious of the influence of food on health. We need to understand how the 'sensory signature' of products influences choice in response to perception changes.
  • Better definition of sensory scoring to reduce subjectivity and the use of instrumental methods will lead to better comparisons between products. Consumer complaint data needs to be more nuanced to aid root cause analysis.
  • Quality specifications (e.g. microbiological criteria for raw products) need to be harmonised to improve business efficiency and reduce waste.
  • Robust systems need to be in place to determine the quality of ingredients from multiple sources as manufacturers seek to guarantee supply by buying from larger numbers of suppliers.

Emerging needs

  • The assessment of product quality is often done using a sensory panel. Current needs in the area of sensory assessment include improving panel attendance post-Covid, communicating sensory science results to the wider business and a need to introduce more up-to-date methodologies to sensory assessment.
  • Food factories can reduce their environmental footprint via recovering water. The treatment of recovered water used to make products is critical to maintain product quality. There is a need to monitor the quality of recovered water and improve its treatment.
  • Reformulation of products has the potential to impact on quality. The restriction in sunflower oil supply due to the war in Ukraine has led to substitution with other oils. There is a need to ensure the impact on product quality is minimised.
  • As more plastic packaging alternatives such as paper and board are used, they have the potential to impart a taint to products. There is a need to accurately assess the taint imparted by these materials to products.
  • Food production technology is constantly being improved. Often, these technologies can have an impact on quality. It is important to assess new technologies for their impact on product quality as well as on product safety.
  • Product quality is often measured against the number of micro organisms detected using an aerobic plate count (APC). There is mounting evidence that the APC is not a reliable indicator of product quality for some products. There is a need to assess the relevance of the APC as an indicator of quality.
  • Recent harvests have resulted in lower protein levels in crops such as wheat. These lower protein levels will have an impact on product quality. The industry needs to be able to accurately predict and mitigate the effects.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Campden BRI but are a summary of industrial feedback obtained from Campden BRI’s Member Interest Groups and interactions with government bodies and wider industry.

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