Ensuring quality control for beverages

By Terri Jordan

The way that consumers look at beverages is changing. While hydration and flavor have always been key drivers behind beverage choice, today’s consumers want more out of their beverages from a health perspective, whether its energy, a mood enhancer, gut health, or other nutritional benefits.

As a result, brands are rolling out new drink options at a rapid pace, staking a claim in everything from CBD-infused drinks to mental health boosters. The beverage market is booming, with some predicting that it will reach $158.3 billion by 2023. We’re seeing more ingredients and flavors thrown into the mix, and beverage manufacturers face the challenge of maintaining their brand standards and quality across new products while meeting this growing consumer demand. This has forced many brands to re-examine their product quality testing procedures; traditional evaluation systems can no longer keep up.

Let’s take a look at some of the hurdles the industry faces regarding quality control for beverages, and how Aryballe can help.


Current challenges

The majority of beverage quality control testing has historically been performed by human panels, analyzing everything from odor to mouth feel to taste. This can be costly and logistically difficult to organize, and results vary significantly person-to-person based on their varying sensitivities and preferences. From an odor perspective, human panels can experience olfactory fatigue (diminished sensitivity to all odors) and adaptation (diminished sensitivity to one specific odor to which one has been exposed for a prolonged time).

As a result, more organizations have recently incorporated technologies such as sensors and digital olfaction tools to improve the quality control process. Digital olfaction provides a quick, objective way to evaluate product samples, and enables data to be documented and recorded in the end user’s quality management system (QMS) for traceability purposes. Flagging abnormal or unwanted odors enables manufacturers to more quickly identify products that do not meet quality standards before ever leaving the assembly line.

Even this method, however, is not perfect. Traditionally, e-noses have struggled with accurately reading high humidity samples, like beverages, because of the interference of the water signal. While it’s possible to ‘dry’ a signal and remove the water bias in post processing, this can add time to the sample analysis – something operators often do not have. This is where Aryballe comes in.


How Aryballe helps

At Aryballe, our digital olfaction technology features an Amplifier accessory which enables labs to remove the water signal before data capture. This adds some time to the measurement cycle, but produces results in near real time.

Our tools can distinguish IN (i.e. good) versus OUT (i.e. unacceptable) samples against the “gold” sample (the final, customer approved product sample), even when there are slight variations to what a company considers as passable. Our technology is also able to distinguish the class of OUT – such as contamination versus low intensity or low flavor – through our Answers Module.

With Aryballe, quality control teams can be confident when working with beverages or humid samples that their measurements and results are based on aroma, not water content. This enables brands to fully harness the power of digital olfaction technology to augment their quality control testing and ultimately help beverage manufacturers keep pace in an increasingly competitive industry.

Learn more about Aryablle’s beverage monitoring capabilities here.