Color is a critical quality component for spices like paprika. The American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) has sampling and measurement standards for paprika, and a spectrophotometer from HunterLab effectively quantifies paprika color values for quality assurance.

How Paprika and Oleoresin Spices Are Made

Paprika is obtained from the ripened, ground, and dried fruit pods of the Capsicum annuum species. The Capsicum annuum peppers used for paprika are sweet and mild with little to no capsaicin, which is a heat compound.

The Capsicum annuum plant is grown until its peppers are mature and have ripened to a red color. The fully ripened peppers are picked for paprika to give the spice its signature red color. The pepper seeds are removed, and the fruit pods are dried and ground.

Oleoresin paprika — or paprika extract — is the oil-soluble extract obtained by extracting lipids and pigments from Capsicum annuum linn or Capsicum frutescens fruits. The oleoresin comprises capsaicin, capsanthin, and capsorubin, giving the product a strong taste and odor. Oleoresin paprika is a natural dye that colors foods a deep red hue.

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Color Standards for Paprika and Oleoresin Spices

ASTA uses Method 20.1 to quantify the color of paprika and oleoresin paprika. An extract of the paprika or oleoresin is obtained. Then, a spectrophotometer measures the absorbance of the oleoresin solution at 460 nanomoles (nm) in a 10-millimeter cell. The test uses this nanomole measurement because the quality indicator of paprika is its degree of yellow in the red.

The paprika color scale from ASTA has ratings for paprika color. The higher the rating, the brighter the paprika's hue. In the United States, paprika has an average value of 120, and oleoresin paprika ranges from 500 to 3,500. Obtain the IC Color units by multiplying the ASTA color unit value by 40.

Sample Color Measurement Calculation of Paprika

For a typical paprika sample, the transmittance value at 460nm is 6.57%, then the absorbance at 460 nm = – log10 (0.0657) = 1.18

Alternatively, a HunterLab software package does allow the display of spectral data in absorbance (A) units such that the absorbance value at 460 nm can be read directly from the display and entered into the formula.

ASTA Color = [(1.18*164*1)/0.09 g)] = 2154
ICU International Color = (2154*40) = 86186

For a second paprika sample, the transmittance value at 460 nm is 4.59% and the absorbance at 460 nm = – log10 (0.0459) = 1.34

ASTA Color = [(1.34*164*1)/0.09 g] = 2438
ICU International Color = (2438*40) = 97538

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How HunterLab Spectrophotometers Meet the Color Standards for Paprika and Oleoresin Spices

The spectrophotometers from HunterLab are an effective solution for monitoring paprika color. Our equipment can identify color variations the human eye cannot see to enhance quality control and production efficiency. You can use your spectrophotometer data to develop color tolerance levels for your paprika production.

Our recommended spectrophotometer for measuring paprika color is our Agera benchtop model. This equipment takes a single measurement in under three seconds to analyze the color, gloss, and fluorescence of the sample. It has three port plates to accommodate various sample sizes.

Learn More About Color Measurement Solutions From HunterLab

HunterLab is the leading expert for color measurements in the spice industry. We have more than 70 years of experience designing and manufacturing spectrophotometers that deliver consistent and accurate results for color measurements.

Purchase a spectrophotometer from HunterLab for measuring paprika color today or contact us for more information.