By Muhammad Salman Chukkan

 

Shelf-life assessment is an important part of New-Product Development (NPD) because it is the assessment where a team is analysing the stability of the product in the supply-chain. It is mandatory to comply with the regulatory requirement too, i.e. the amount of the nutrients given shall only have a tolerance of minus 10% of label.

In Shelf-life assessment, parameter prioritization is an important activity. This is particularly difficult if the product is new to organization or if the activity is dealt by someone without experience. Thus, to simplified by a novel prioritization tool. This tool helps in decision making regarding prioritization. Please mind that, the efficiency of this tool solely depends on how deep the brainstorming is done. The priority may change from company to company and product to product.

Procedure:

  1. Brainstorm all the important parameters, be it sensory attributes like appearance, flavour etc. Or Chemical Attributes like moisture content, Acidity etc. Or Microbial count.
  2. Also, try to link these sensorial properties to any chemical attributes, which is easily assessable. Like Appearance into moisture content or Glass transition temperature.
  3. Now, list down all the parameters into the table given below.
  4. Now, if there is multiple methods for assessment of a parameter, list all the possible methods
  5. Now, fill the prioritization table for each given quality-column out of 5.
  6. If there is label requirement make sure that it gets 5 and if not give 1.
  7. While filling, make sure that the quickest and cheapest will get high rating. Do for all the quality-columns.
  8. Now to find APPS (ASLT parameter prioritization Score) multiply all the ratings given in each quality-column. Higher the APPS, most important parameters.
  9. Make sure that there is justification for each ratings given.

Tips to perform well:

  1. While brainstorming try to bring any customer or anyone not aware of the project. This will help to get the most important parameter regarding customers.
  2. Also, try to find all the parameters for a product. Please don’t limit the number of the parameters. The criticism can be followed after a through Brainstorming exercise.
  3. Also, try to list down all the possible methods of analysis which can be held in-house.
  4. Now, while giving rating make sure you have a very versatile team. Include at-least one person with knowledge in Analytical Chemistry.
  5. Complete this exercise by giving ample amount of time, please don’t rush because it will reduce the efficiency of this exercise.

Below, there is an example given for a health-mix which is having Vitamins and minerals which  are labelled too. This product is launched by a fictions company named as Chuk-de Foods Ltd. This company is a small scale company with limited facilities in the area of analytical testing. In this case the Appearance, Flavour and Colour are important parameters. Appearance can be quantified by the moisture content as we have Critical Moisture Content.

Case-study: Health-mix by a small scale company.

ASLT Parameter Prioritization (APP) Tool for Health Mix.

Parameter

Method of Analysis.

Sensorial Importance

Label Requirement

Detectability

Activity

Capability

Quickness

Reliability

Cost

APP Score

List of Parameters

Find Number of ways to analyse.

How important for Consumer?

Does Label contains this parameter?

Does this parameter get detected by basic senses or simple experiments?

How Fast the degradation is happening?

Are you capable to do the test In-House?

How quick is the test?

How reliable is the test?

How costly is the procedure?

Higher the score the important it is.

Colour

Sensory Evaluation

5

1

3

3

5

5

2

5

11250

Flavour

Sensory Evaluation

5

1

3

4

5

5

2

5

15000

Aftertaste

Sensory Evaluation

5

1

3

4

5

5

2

5

15000

Moisture Content

Oven Method

5

1

5

5

5

5

4

5

62500

Vitamin C

Titration

1

5

4

5

5

5

5

5

62500

UV Spectroscopy

1

5

4

5

1

3

5

1

1500

Vitamin E

HPLC

1

5

1

3

1

2

5

1

150

The assessment is entirely based on the individual requirement. In this case it was found out that Vitamin C by Titration Method and  Moisture Content is having the highest APP Score, thus it can be the most important parameters. But Sensory evaluation is also used to understand the  sensorial aspects.

*The author is a student of MTech (Food Engineering and Technology) in Institute of Chemical Technology.

 

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