Texture Analysis Professionals Blog

How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

How to test the Physical Properties of Thin Samples

Thin samples are notoriously difficult to test. This is a short guide with some tips to make your thin sample testing more accurate and repeatable.

Compression or penetration

When testing the hardness of thin products by compression or penetration, the measured force may show a sudden exponential increase as shown in the graph below. This occurs as a result of the probe moving nearer to the base. 

Either the test will abort because the load cell has overloaded, or the test will finish, collecting irrelevant data that does not reflect the true properties of the product. Comparison could then incorrectly be made between maximum forces that are not sample derived.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Implications of spreadability for dairy and bakery products

The spreadability of margarine and butter is of paramount importance for consumer acceptability. It is a physical property and results from the fact that these products consist of a dispersion of solid fat crystals in liquid oil.

The ratio of solid to liquid fat in a product is probably the most important factor determining hardness and spreadability. However, hardness and softness are not the only factors influencing spreadability; smoothness and brittleness are also important. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Temperature-Controlled Texture Analysis of Fats and Oils

Fats and oils perform a key role in defining the sensory characteristics of our favourite prepared foods. They affect the structure, stability, flavour, shelf-life, palatability, mouthfeel and visual appearance of food products.

For manufacturers to obtain the desired performance, it is important to recognise that different applications require a fat or oil product with different physical and organoleptic properties. 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Substantiate your product claims with the aid of texture analysis

Customers are wary of manufacturers using taglines to tempt them into buying their product – a conditioner that states “hair three times suppler after first use” will not sell well if customers start using it and find no difference to their tresses. 
News travels fast these days with thousands of cosmetics review sites and online shops, and products that fail to live up to their claims will be given poor marks. The manufacturers could have performed a simple bend test on hair specimens treated with their conditioner and would have found their mistake before it was too late. 

The development of methods to measure the effect of cosmetics is driven by increasing pressure on cosmetic companies to provide solid evidence to support product claims.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

New Food Texture Trends at IFT

The 2017 exhibition for the Institute of Food Technologists was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from June 25th to 28th, showcasing thousands of developments in the food technology industry.

The show gives a good reflection of the current wants and desires of consumers, and they seem to be asking quite a lot from manufacturers this year. One major area to consider while keeping up with these trends is food texture. The majority of attendees were heavily aware of the importance of texture measurement in R&D as well as its maintenance in quality control; texture is such an important quality of food and beverage products that many manufacturers mention a textural attribute specifically by name on a product’s packaging or even in the name itself.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Toast your Roast with Texture Analysis

Variations on ‘Roast Dinner’ are eaten for different occasions all over the world – a roast joint of meat, potatoes, vegetables and gravy, often followed by a stodgy pudding such as an apple pie.

This is a meal that consumers look forward to so it is important that the texture of each component is no less than perfect. This analysis would be carried out for the purpose of calculating ideal cooking times, in the case of a supermarket or a chain restaurant, or to test the quality of supplied ingredients.

Texture Analysis – Time for Tea!

Texture Analysers are made in the South of England, where afternoon tea stacked high on a triple tiered cake stand is a staple for any big celebration.  

Our customers around the world may be surprised to find some items here that aren’t so different from their own national food.

The first component of afternoon tea is a large, fluffy scone, cut in half and spread with sticky jam and clotted cream. There are regional arguments for whether jam or cream should be applied first, but in both cases cream and jam that are hard and difficult to spread cause the scone to break up under the knife, which is very undesirable. The softness of the inside of a scone can be assessed by preparing a cubic sample, having cut the crusts off, and performing a compression test with a large cylinder probe. A soft sample will yield under a low force.

The Perfect Texture of Lunch

A sandwich, a bag of crisps and a can of soda – the lunch eaten by millions of people around the world every day.

They are not aware of the meticulous testing that has gone into every stage of their meal, from the packaging down to the wheat flour used to make their bread. It is no surprise that food manufacturers focus so much of their effort into tailoring these items so they are a perfect compromise between cost and quality, to be pleasing to the customer but not expensive to manufacture.