Benefits Of Water Activity

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In this example we will consider a manufacturer of dried Pet Food.

They had a product with the following characteristics:

  • Product formulation studies had a critical water activity limit
    of 0.65 for the product.
  • Production and QC departments were performing moisture
    content analysis on the product.
  • The product had never had microbial or shelf life concerns.

By changing to water activity measurements the company is now
able to sell more product for the same raw materials (pet food is
sold by weight) and continue to maintain a safe and stable product.

How does that work?

Let’s say that a company has a production rate of 1000 kg/hr,
Operates 8 hrs/day, 5 days/week, 22 days/month
(1000kg/hr x 8hrs/day x 22days/month x 12months/yr = 2,112,000kg/yr)

Sells the product for $0.90/kg (2,112,000 x $0.90 = $1,900,800.00/yr)

Originally, they dried the product to a target moisture of 8%,
which for the product equated to a water activity of 0.50 aw.

By raising the target water activity of the product to 0.65 aw
(10% moisture content), which was the designed
water activity for the product, the product still meets its safety
criteria AND they produce an extra 2.22% of product per year,
which equates to a massive 46,886kg of ‘free’ product per year.
The could generate an additional $42,000 revenue for the same
amount of raw materials!

In addition, production (drying) costs were reduced!

In the example shown above, the company purchased an
AquaLab Series 3TE and Pawkit combo, which paid for
themselves in a matter of months – now that is a smart investment.

How would you like to make an extra $42,000 per year just for selling water?
This was achieved by measuring the water activity of the product rather
than the moisture content.

Datalogging of Water Activity

Your products’ water activity will be affected by temperature,
packaging and ambient relative humidity. We offer water activity
data logging solutions to help you understand what is really
happening to your product over time.

Moisture Content vs Water Activity

The relationship between moisture content and water activity
for a given product, at a given temeprature is called a
‘moisture sorption isotherm’. Decagon’s AquaSorp IG measures
isotherms ultra-quick, or see our Isotherm Generation Service.