Q-Lab is the world leader in lightstability test equipment and test services for the food and beverage industry. Colorants, flavorings, fragrances, and other additives are often sensitive to exposure to natural sunlight or indoor lighting. Because consumers are very perceptive of slight shifts in taste, color, or fragrance of their favorite foods and beverages, it is critical for manufacturers to ensure lightstability of their products. At the same time, the additives used to protect against photodegradation are often very expensive, so care must be taken to avoid their overuse. How long will your products resist color shifts due to sunlight? How long will they resist retail store lighting? Will light from any source change their flavor or smell? Has something changed in your process that might affect your product's lightstability? Don't guess when you can test.
Exposure to sunlight in a retail environment can affect the appearance as well as the taste of a product.
Q-Lab serves customers in a variety of food and beverage segments, including:
The QUV Accelerated Weathering Tester accurately simulates the short wave ultraviolet (UV) portion of the sunlight spectrum, which is responsible for severe photodegradation, leading to free radical attack on food and beverage colorants, flavorings, and fragrances. The QUV tester can provide significant acceleration of these factors compared to natural exposures, allowing a rapid test-reformulate-retest product development cycle. Its large specimen exposure area allows testing of full-size beverage bottles. The Q-SUN xenon test chamber adds the ability to expose materials to the full spectrum of sunlight, not just the short wave UV. This can be important for very sensitive materials that degrade from exposure to longer wavelengths. The versatile flat-specimen tray in the Q-SUN tester allows for easy testing of products in a variety of bottles or containers.
- Food grade colorants
- Wine and distilled spirits
- Colored sports drinks
- Bottled beverages
- Protective packaging
- Retail packaging
Q-Lab's accelerated weathering testers allow our customers to accurately reproduce several potential failure modes, including:
While accelerated lightstability chambers are a key weapon in the fight against the forces of sunlight, heat, and moisture, nothing beats the real thing: outdoor testing in one of Q-Lab's benchmark outdoor testing facilities. Q-Lab's South Florida and Arizona desert sites provide the ultimate test of your product's outdoor lightstability using natural conditions. Since many food and beverage products are displayed outdoors in many places around the world, natural exposures in Florida and Arizona provide assurance that laboratory tests are realistic.
- Fading and color change
- Souring and other flavor degradation
- Loss of visual or spoilage protective properties
- Lightfastness is a key requirement for product labels in the food and beverage industry.
- Q-Lab's weathering chambers can accommodate a wide variety of beverage bottle shapes and sizes.
- Colorant is often the most expensive ingredient in a beverage's formulation. Optimizing its use can increase profitability.
- Most food manufacturers test their new products for light stability prior to introduction.
- Products aren't always displayed in an interior retail environment, so many manufacturers also test their products outdoors.
- Color is a key differentiator for many sports drinks – these are being readied for color stability testing in a Q-SUN Xe-3 chamber.