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

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Importance of Texture Analysis in Cosmetic Stability Testing

Cosmetics companies! Can you say with confidence that a product your customer buys in bulk today will have the same excellent qualities they expect from your brand when they open it in six months’ time?

If not, you need to start stability testing, pronto.

Stability testing is simply the assessment of the lasting power of a cosmetic, during which samples of it are put under different environmental conditions for a set time period, and its properties analysed. These conditions vary in light, temperature, pressure and humidity levels and are designed to imitate what the product may be subjected to during its lifetime.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Texture Analysis of Surimi Products: 3: Elasticity


Shellfish has a characteristically chewy texture; to create a convincing comminuted product, manufacturers need to imitate this. 


In texture analysis terms, chewiness is measured by elasticity. High elasticity produces an item with a rubbery consistency (Figure 7) whereas low elasticity creates an undesirably brittle product.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017



Texture Analysis of Surimi Products: 2: Toughness – Measurement using Cutting/Shearing Tests


Preparation processes can detrimentally affect the texture of imitation shell-fish products and affect repeat purchase decisions. 


During new product development manufacturers must consider the effect of these processes on the structure of surimi with regard to toughness. 


Tuesday, 4 April 2017



Texture Analysis of Surimi Products: 1: Introduction; Gel Strength (Stiffness)


A predominant ingredient in the Orient is fish – used both fresh and comminuted as surimi fish mince.


Made for centuries by the Japanese and thought to date as far back as 1100AD, surimi is now spreading from Japanese to Western processed foods and is used to form extruded, shaped or cooked simulated shell-fish meat products such as crab, lobster, scallop or shrimp.


To gain consumer acceptance of imitation shell-fish, the texture, flavour and appearance of fresh shell-fish must be matched as closely as possible. This has successfully been achieved by Japanese processors who produce surimi as an economic alternative to fresh fillets and imitation shell-fish which are barely distinguishable from the real thing. 


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Physical Analysis: Putting Cosmetics to the Test

A customer walks into a pharmacy looking for a new cream to keep their hands soft. They don’t have much to go by other than packaging and price, so they choose the same brand they use on their face. 


They get outside and squeeze some out of the tube with their normal pressure, and their palm fills up with too much thin, watery cream that seems to do nothing to remove the dryness. A disappointed customer, and the very reason the cosmetics company should have used physical analysis on their cream before they released it for sale.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Chips, Crisps & Mash – Getting the Texture Right!

Potatoes are a common, even basic, vegetable in Western diets, in some cases assuming the status of a staple.

Potato snack foods include French Fries and dried miniature versions of them (chips in the US sense, or crisps in UK) in many flavours. They appear as mashed potato in many convenience meals such as TV dinners, and as potato salads in take-away meals.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017


Adding Texture to Tea



The best discoveries are total accidents, and bubble tea is no exception. 


The drink as we know it today found its origins in Taiwan in 1988 when Lin Hsiu Hui, a product developer in a tea house, decided on a whim to pour her tapioca pudding into her iced tea. 


Perhaps excited by the extra level of texture she had incorporated into her drink, she passed it around the meeting room and it was met with acclaim; the product was tweaked and brought onto the market, and its sales rocketed. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Texture Analysis in the Nailcare Industry: 5: Tensile properties of nail wraps

Self-adhesive nail wraps can be tricky to fit to the nail. To avoid ripples in the surface, the film must be flexible enough to be smoothed into small corners but also taut across the surface of the nail. 

The wrap must also be tough enough to avoid tearing during application and have a reasonable strength. All these properties can be assessed using a tensile test. 


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Texture Analysis in the Nailcare Industry: 4: 
Adhesive properties of nail wraps

Nail wraps are flexible adhesive films that are smoothed onto the nail’s surface and trimmed. 

They provide an opportunity for intricate designs that can be printed by the manufacturer that would otherwise be difficult to paint by hand. 

The design will be consistent across all nails and removes the difficulty of using the non-dominant hand to paint.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Texture Analysis in the Nailcare Industry: 3: Mechanical properties of dry polish



A manicure is subject to a lot of abuse as the wearer goes about their daily life (opening jars, cooking, typing on a keyboard). 

For repeat purchase of a nail polish, it must be able to stand up to this type of use. As well as the adhesion properties mentioned above, the stiffness and toughness of a polish are all extremely important. 


An overly stiff, brittle polish would be undesirable as it would break when a nail is bent when opening a soda can, for example. The low stiffness is important for the polish to follow the nail as it bends. A high strain to failure is also crucial, or the polish film would break under the slightest deformation.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Texture Analysis in the Nailcare Industry: 
2: Nail polish drying time



Nail polish has been developed to have a faster drying time with brands claiming “dry in 60 seconds” or “quickdry”. 

However, smudging a manicure is still a common complaint. There are also difficulties accelerating the drying time of more natural polishes containing fewer volatile solvents. New products must be tested for this in a consistent way.




Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Texture Analysis in the Nailcare Industry: 1: 

Introduction

The way we look and feel is more important than ever in the age of constant selfie-taking and the abundance of cameras at every social gathering.

This is not to mention the impossible beauty standards set by photoshopped billboards and magazine shoots that ordinary people feel they have to live up to. 

It is no surprise that cosmetics are more popular than ever, with the global cosmetic market estimated to reach US$675 billion by 2020. 


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Application advice - comparing cutting/shearing accessories

We are often asked why there are so many different blade fixture options available from Stable Micro Systems.  

Our range of blades vary considerably in size, material, thickness and sharpness. In general they are used to measure the Bite/Cutting Force of products which in some instances can relate to their ‘Toughness’. The following guidelines may help in clarifying the potential use of each.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Substituting your Meat at mealtimes: Part 8: Sliced meat and Quorn – texture comparison

Film Support Rig - sliced meat
Sliced meat: how does it hold together?
 
How a sliced meat or meat substitute holds together is an important textural expectation of the consumer. The binding characteristics of the sliced product can be greatly affected by its formulation and processing thus affecting its tensile strength.


Whilst tensile grips or pneumatic grips are the traditional choice for tensile testing there are alternatives for a soft and thin product such as sliced meat. A Film Support Rig (shown in Figure 16) is designed to hold small amounts of thin or film-like material in a drum configuration in order to measure the biextensional properties of the films using a puncture test. 


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Substituting your Meat at mealtimes: Part 7: Meatballs and nuggets – texture comparison

Multiple puncture probe - meatball testDespite the simplicity of penetration tests when faced with a non-homogeneous product, penetration is highly compromised as a smaller surface area for measurement is also more sensitive to variations in sample structure and low reproducibility and misleading data is obtained. 

Results may show a wide variance between maximum and minimum forces depending on whether the probe meets with, for example, internal structure variation such as is usually present in meat products.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Substituting your Meat at mealtimes: Part 6: Paté and pastes – texture comparison

Cylinder probe - pate testPaté & Pastes: Measuring Paté Firmness
 
More and more often paté is being eaten as a snack spread onto toast, bread or crackers. It is usually made by pre-cooking liver and other meats, mixing them with other ingredients, seasoning and then filling into moulds or casings. 


There are many variations as a result of using different ingredients and nowadays low fat paté is also an option. There are of course vegetarian alternatives which, more often than not, contain vegetables rather than a meat substitute.