Since many food products are bought and sold by weight, moisture content is a key component in ensuring accuracy for purchasing raw materials. Food with too much moisture can cost purchasing plants excessive money that could’ve been prevented by moisture meter usage.
Water in food products also affects various characteristics of the product that are important to its taste, texture, color, density, particle size, etc. Some of the more important considerations are: Amount of dry product in the mix (concentration), stability to microbiological growth, flow characteristics, nutritional quality, adherence to government statutes, storage longevity, and mix character in liquids (for agglomerated products).
Many off line lab moisture tests are appropriate (often specified by AOAC procedures): Oven drying (gravimetric testing), forced air oven, vacuum oven, microwave, IR drying, toluene distillation, Karl Fischer titration, etc. However, for instantaneous, non-contact moisture analysis, near infrared (NIR) is most commonly utilized.
On-line Food Moisture Meters
Finna Group’s Model SMART III NIR non-contact, non-destructive measurement is an industry standard for rapid yet accurate moisture analysis. It also provides control output signals allowing consistent product moisture results throughout the production cycle with little or no operator interface. However, for thick or lumpy food products such as large pet foods or lump doughs, radio frequency (RF) technology is employed. Finna Group’s Model SMART III RF on-line sensor meets this need. Many RF sensor types are available for most any product or production need.
Food Lab Moisture Analyzer
The MCPC Lab Moisture Analyzer uses weight-corrected capacitance measured at radio frequencies to derive moisture content in five seconds or less. This technique is ideal for measuring moisture in food because RF completely penetrates non-conductive materials to measure moisture throughout the particle. MCPC tests are completely non-destructive and no sample heating occurs.
Portable Food Moisture Meters
The Model DG-9 is Finna Group’s premier portable instrument for the food industry, acting as a great moisture meter for a multitude of foods such as coffee, grains, etc. and also for testing food already in packaging such as bins, sacks and silos. While not a food moisture meter per se, the DC-2011: Cork Moisture Meter has proven very useful to wineries around the world in order to test their wine corks.