Peanuts are an important oil and protein source as well as a popular food product. Peanuts are the fourth or fifth most widely produced oil seed globally, and thus this is a very important crop for global food production.
Peanut oil production accounts for approximately 50% of the peanut crop, while food production accounts for approximately 40% with miscellaneous products making up the rest. In general, oil production is decreasing over time while the food use is increasing.
In oil crushing plants, incoming peanuts are de-shelled and the nuts are crushed and the oil extracted via hydraulic pressure, expeller pressing or solvent extraction. In all cases, it is very important to be able to monitor the incoming material and extracted meal to ensure maximum oil recovery and efficiency of the process. The resulting peanut meal is toasted, ground and sold as a nutritious feed ingredient high in protein, energy and minerals. Often, this meal is sold based a specified minimum protein value.
Peanuts for food production are processed in widely varied manners, from roasting in the shell to blanching and processing for spreads and peanut butter. As the incoming material is expensive and the final products have specified targets for moisture, fat, etc., it is imperative that the peanut processor have timely analytical data to properly control the process. Accurate data at-line allows the peanut processor to maximize yield and minimize re-work and claims on the final products and by-products.
NIR analysis is a proven technique that can provide accurate moisture, fat, protein and other values at-line in under 30 seconds. The Unity Food Analyzer has a variety of sample accessories that are ideal for the analysis of incoming nuts, extracted meals, oils, and peanut butter. Fast, reliable data at-line enables peanut processors to monitor the production lines, optimizing the process and increasing efficiency.