Innovative quality controls with smart food scanner
With the Xpectrum technology Colruyt Group takes the quality control of food to the next level. We are the first company ever to use the tool to analyse the composition and texture of our products with a smart handheld scanner (spectrometer). It will tell us immediately whether the products meet our criteria. In this way, food fraud or lower-quality food can be detected quicker and easier. Thanks to the new tool we can measure 100 times more samples and also save quite some costs.
How does the smart food scanner work?
An employee can easily scan delivered food products or raw materials with the spectrometer. With (the reflection of) light, the device can reveal complex properties, such as texture and composition. It allows us to determine, within seconds, whether water has been added to chicken meat, what type of meat is involved and whether it meets our quality criteria.
Why this new technology?
The existing, comprehensive quality management systems take various aspects into account, but often rely on certificates and specifications, and/or do not provide for extensive specific tests on, for example, fraud involving spices, olive oil, meat or fish. The innovative Xpectrum technology, developed by the Belgian startup with the same name, makes it possible to test more samples in a fast, simple and reliable way. Ideal to verify the safety, the quality as well as the authenticity of our food.
The Xpectrum technology is in line with our continuous aim for process innovation. More efficient controls such as these will also help us to continue to guarantee the Colruyt lowest price guarantee.Stefan Goethaert, who has the final responsibility over the Colruyt Group Quality Department.
Tested and approved
A twelve-month test at our distribution and production sites showed several advantages of Xpectrum:
- Quick: a scan takes a few seconds, just like the analysis by the device. All in all, you'll see the result in 20 seconds. For comparison: the results of the lab are usually available after two days.
- User-friendly: our own employees can easily carry out measurements themselves.
- No food loss: the measured sample can go back to the processing flow.
- Increased test capacity: during the test period, we were able to analyse as many as 100 times more samples than usual.
- Cost-saving: the use of the scanner is 90 % cheaper than sending samples to a lab.
- Accurate: the technology rightfully detects 70 % of the samples as deviating. And thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning it will become even more accurate with more data. Ideal for early detection, indeed. Instead of randomly selecting samples for further analysis in the lab, the scanner shows for which samples this is actually needed. This makes the control process even more efficient.
Images from Xpectrum and Smart Hub Vlaams-Brabant.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.