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  • 08 March 2021
  • By: Pieter Vos , directeur Nutrilab

During a Green Belt course, I was immersed in the statistics of tolerances on the production process and their impact on the final product. Conclusion: a better adjustment of your equipment ensures that less faulty products roll off the belt. It ensures lower costs. The same goes for the analyses of your products.  

When you apply tolerances to the nutritional value of your product, several things come into play. For products of natural origin, there can be quite a bit of variation. The protein content of meat will usually be fairly stable, but if you are going to slaughter in a different way a lot can change. If, for example, you leave more fat attached when slaughtering chicken, you will have a slightly higher yield and less low-quality product. Is that difference of such a magnitude that it affects the declaration on the label? 

Let's do some math. Suppose we take a chicken for slaughter where we leave 2% (relatively) more product (membranes, fat edges and so on). The protein content of a chicken is around 25% - the requirements on the spread of the 25% may vary at retail. A spread of 1 to 2% absolute is accepted. In this example, the protein percentage will be 24.5% at most. So the label does not need to be changed. But what is the effect of adding water to a meat product? Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 describes the rules for labeling added water. Annex VI requires companies to indicate in the designation that the food contains added water if it constitutes more than 5% of the weight of the finished product. This "added water" can be measured very accurately. 

It all starts with accurate measuring and clearly mapping out your tolerances. More control over the tolerances leads to more control over the quality, the shelf life of your product and: lower costs. A lot of little things add up to the difference between large production numbers. 

Pieter Vos
Director Nutrilab

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2021