Campden BRI has developed a new method to rate the chilli heat of complex products, such as ready meals and cooking sauces. The calibrated method uses the company’s panel of taste testers to provide retailers and manufacturers with a consistent way to rate their products as mild, medium, hot or very hot.
Ingredients and even the colour and texture of a product will influence the perception of hotness, the company notes. Campden BRI says its method takes these factors into account to provide a consistent and reliable heat rating for food products. Samples are evaluated individually in Campden BRI’s sensory booths under coloured light to mask any differences in the colour of the products.
While the heat of whole chilli or chilli powder can be instrumentally tested using HPLC and given a Scoville rating, when complex products are tested in this way the results may not correlate with the perceived spiciness when the product is consumed, Campden says, and this could mean that manufacturers are inadvertently providing misleading information to consumers.
Josefine Hammerby, Sensory Descriptive Projects Manager at Campden BRI said, “Many manufacturers display a graphic on a product’s packaging, with a number of chillies to show consumers how spicy it will be. However, it can be difficult to get consistent results across a range of products. Our new method gives manufacturers and retailers confidence that they are providing consumers with accurate and consistent information about the chilli strength of their products.”
The new method complements Campden BRI’s existing service to measure Scoville ratings – by chromatography – for whole chilli fruits or powders.