Open source: Blendhub offers ‘fingerprint’ library for nutrient blends

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Blendhub: “This way a customer’s quality control can operate from day one."
Blendhub: “This way a customer’s quality control can operate from day one."
Spanish supplier Blendhub is taking the rare step of offering customers access to its new library of near infra-red (NIR) spectroscopy analyses from more than 300 raw materials.

Blendhub said the compendium, which took five years to compile, consists of 10,000 unique NIR analyses from different samples.

Quality Excellence Center manager Beatriz Carrasco explained that the database spans the company’s own powder blends, other finished products and raw materials.

“It characterises the product, providing a ‘fingerprint’, if you like,” ​she said. “So you can be sure that the product you receive is exactly the product that you’ve specified.”

She added that a food business wanting to build its own library would require time – and considerable effort – to do this.

“This way, a customer’s quality control can operate from day one,” ​she said.

Critically, the company is offering this as a remote service, dubbed ‘NIR Everywhere’. Cloud-based data means that Blendhub’s NIR experts can compare sample analyses from anywhere in the world with the signatures on its own database.

Blendhub said that customers could benefit from both qualitative analysis, where models for each ingredient or blend can be created and compared, and quantitative analysis. Quantitative NIR spectroscopy allows customers to establish the specific physico-chemical properties of a product.

Outsourced quality control

The creation of the Quality Excellence Center and the NIR library is part of a trend, according to Carrasco, for customers to source formulation, supply chain and quality support in powdered food additives from a single provider. She said that larger, as well as smaller, businesses using powdered additives could benefit from the service.

This is presented as a way of outsourcing quality control at a time when the origin and identity of raw materials are coming under special scrutiny, but without requiring in-house technical expertise or incurring the time and cost involved in using external laboratories.

Customers can either pay for one-off use of the database or for a monthly usage license.

The company explained that it also offers consultancy and training services, helping other businesses optimise use of their NIR equipment, create models for qualitative and quantitative studies and train quality control teams in developing NIR models.

Blendhub is the parent company of a group also comprising Premium Ingredients and Portable Powder Blending, with a presence in Spain, Mexico, India and the United Arab Emirates. 

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