Colour Measurement and Analysis in Fresh and Processed Foods: A Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1210 Citations (Scopus)


Colour is an important quality attribute in the food and bioprocess industries, and it influences consumer's choice and preferences. Food colour is governed by the chemical, biochemical, microbial and physical changes which occur during growth, maturation, postharvest handling and processing. Colour measurement of food products has been used as an indirect measure of other quality attributes such as flavour and contents of pigments because it is simpler, faster and correlates well with other physicochemical properties. This review discusses the techniques and procedures for the measurement and analysis of colour in food and other biomaterial materials. It focuses on the instrumental (objective) and visual (subjective) measurements for quantifying colour attributes and highlights the range of primary and derived objective colour indices used to characterise the maturity and quality of a wide range of food products and beverages. Different approaches applied to model food colour are described, including reaction mechanisms, response surface methodology and others based on probabilistic and non-isothermal kinetics. Colour is one of the most widely measured product quality attributes in postharvest handling and in the food processing research and industry. Apart from differences in instrumentation, colour measurements are often reported based on different colour indices even for the same product, making it difficult to compare results in the literature. There is a need for standardisation to improve the traceability and transferability of measurements. The correlation between colour and other sensory quality attributes is well established, but future prospects exist in the application of objective non-destructive colour measurement in predictive modelling of the nutritional quality of fresh and processed food products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-60
Number of pages25
JournalFood and Bioprocess Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Browning index
  • Colorimeter
  • Colour
  • Colour index
  • Colour kinetics
  • Food quality
  • Non-destructive measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Colour Measurement and Analysis in Fresh and Processed Foods: A Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this