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No more bricks inside your paprika powder or water in your chicken

8 December 2020

Comate & Xpectrum develop innovative measurement device for Colruyt

Companies within the food industry are often confronted with food fraud. Quality control of food is very important, but existing procedures are expensive, time consuming and labor intensive. Pure & Sure – a team of companies and researchers – joined forces to develop solutions to guarantee the quality and fairness of food products that meet all regulations. This initiative sparked the start of a new company: Xpectrum was born.

Xpectrum developed an innovative technology that makes it possible to measure the composition and texture of food products. To translate the technology into a user-friendly device, the company partnered up with engineering company Comate. The engineers and designers from Comate were responsible for the development of the device, including the electronics and software.

The result: an easy-to-use scanner device that can give you the results of an analysis (scan included) in only 20 seconds. For comparison: the results of the lab are usually available after two days. The device can reveal complex properties, such as texture and composition. The device works with NIR Spectroscopy: by means of light and its reflection, the device can detect which substances the product is made of. If, for example, too much water is injected into the chicken, the screen will turn red.

Thanks to the device, Colruyt can test more than 100 extra samples and can save thousands of euros on laboratory expenses. “Through machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, you can immediately see if something is wrong with your food product when you scan it. A sample that has been measured can be included in the flow of the other products, so there is no food waste. What’s more, the whole thing is highly scalable: it allows retailers to carry out as many measurements as necessary, at no extra cost,” says Simon Steverlinck, co-founder of Xpectrum.

Steven Goethaert, responsible for the Colruyt Group Quality Department says: “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.”

The project received a subsidy from the Province of Flemish Brabant.

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