Product-Highlight iba 2023

Quality Control in a Cookie and Cracker Plant

By controlling moisture levels and monitoring key parameters in raw ingredients and finished products, KPM Analytics' NIR solutions offer process optimization, cost savings, and enhanced quality.

Cookies and crackers represent billions of dollars annually in the global food market and are a significant segment of food purchases worldwide. This food segment includes saltines, graham crackers, cracker meals, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, wafer cookies, sandwich cookies, and several others.

This is a food segment loaded with competitors, where brand loyalty and product quality are major factors to increase marketshare. Several large multi-national companies dominate the various product segments. However, many smaller companies are also present with allergen/sugar-free products, or cookies and crackers with higher-end or gluten-free ingredients.

Process Control Analysis Points in a Cookie and Cracker Plant

Whether in a lab, or on the production line, NIR analysis is a proven technique that provides simultaneous results for moisture, fat, protein, fiber, ash, and other parameters in under a minute. Applications for cookie and cracker production include the analysis of both the raw ingredients and the finished product, enabling optimization from start to finish.

The speed of analysis allows for 100% measurement of incoming ingredients and finished goods. Raw ingredients suppliers can be verified to ensure they are providing the best quality materials while also ensuring production and product consistency, reducing re-work, and reducing costs from discarded product. Final products can be monitored to ensure product quality and optimize the manufacturing process.

How does NIR Analysis Provide Immediate Value to Cookie and Cracker Production?

Moisture Control

Controlling the moisture level of final products – especially when cookies and crackers exit the oven – is critical for product quality.

Too much moisture

  • Unwanted texture or mouth feel
  • Adverse microbiological and product stability(poor shelf life, mold, etc.)

Too little moisture

  • Poor palatability, dry texture
  • Negative impact on ingredients

How NIR helps:

Analysis at the oven exit provides nearly instant feedback to operators, allowing them to adjust oven temperatures and optimize moisture levels (usually within 0.1%). This leads to less wasted product, producing a significant return-on-investment in a short amount of time.

Raw Ingredient Monitoring

Even though many manufacturers may not do much quality-control inspection of incoming raw materials, ingredients such as flour, corn meal, etc. and whole grains (wheat, oats, rice, etc.) are natural products that can be highly variable in composition.

How NIR helps:

Critical ingredients can be analyzed for protein, moisture, ash, and other parameters to ensure quality from the raw materials. This leads to more consistent products from batch-to-batch.

Final Product Monitoring

Various cookies and crackers are finished with a spray containing shortening and/or sugar.

How NIR helps:

NIR monitoring can ensure the proper amount of coating is applied as they leave the oven, helping operators maintain flavoring consistency to satisfy consumer expectations.

Quality Control Laboratory Costs

Routine laboratory analysis of raw ingredients and finished products can become time-consuming and costly for producers.

How NIR helps:

Implementing an at-line NIR system provides real-time analytical data in time to plant operators. This saves companies in technician resources and instrumentation, all of which can amount to several thousand dollars a month or more.

Use Data to Save Costs, Ensure Quality, and Gain a Competitive Edge

A consumer’s choice to purchase your cookie or cracker brand depends on critical quality control factors in your process. Thankfully, with the help of NIR technology, either at the lab or on the production line, cookie and cracker producers have a solution to measure these factors and take total command over their production.

Learn about KPM Analytics’ NIR sensing solutions to help improve cookie and cracker quality, flavor, and consistency.


SpectraStar XT NIR Analyzer Series

QuikCheck Food & Industrial Analyzer


MCT Process Analyzer Series