Texture Analysis Professionals Blog

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

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sensory Analysis vs. Texture Analysis

Sensory analysis includes use of the senses of smell, taste, sound and touch.

Evaluation of food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic texture by touch includes the use of thefingers, as well as the lips, tongue, palate and teeth in the mouth.

When producing products for consumers, manufacturers endeavour to offer products with a defined uniformly high quality. As would be expected, sensory methods of analysis are subject to wide variability, are labour intensive and therefore expensive. Alongside sensory tests of products by trained tester panels, instrumental measuring methods are used as flanking measures.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Importance of Texture in Food

Take gummy mashed potatoes, leathery dried apples, and limp celery. We spurn them all, because their texture – the way they feel on the tongue, lips, hard palate, or teeth – is offputting.

Most people obsess over the flavour of everything from ice cream to chocolate – but the professionals, food scientists and chefs alike, know that crispiness, creaminess and chewiness is just as important. Texture is big business and the science of food structure even has its own 'ology': food rheology.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Why Measure Texture?

Texture analysis is the mechanical testing of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, adhesives and other consumer products in order to measure their physical properties.  

It is an important attribute in that it affects processing and handling, influences habits, and affects shelf-life and consumer acceptance of products.

Because of its adaptability, texture analysis has become commonplace in many industries to measure a specific or range of characteristics or properties relating to the way a material behaves, breaks, flows, sticks, bends, etc. Typical texture and physical properties than can be measured include: crispiness, stickiness, brittleness, spreadability, chewiness, firmness and consistency.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

What is Food Texture and How is It Measured?

Texture refers to those qualities of a food that can be felt with the fingers, tongue, palate, or teeth. 

Foods have different textures, such as crisp crackers or potato chips, crunchy celery, hard candy, tender steaks, chewy chocolate chip cookies and sticky toffee, to name but a few.

Texture is also an index of quality. The texture of a food can change as it is stored, for various reasons. If fruits or vegetables lose water during storage, they wilt or lose their turgor pressure, and a crisp apple becomes unacceptable and leathery on the outside.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Testing Products with a Crust, Skin or Multilayers

Products with a crust, skin or multilayers bring textural variety to a product. The breaking of the skin of an apple when bitten into or the biting through the layers of the perfect pastry product brings a textural sensation that is highly desirable and anticipated. Failure to notice a difference in the layers of such products brings disappointment.

The collection of detail of a thin, brittle, laminated or multi-phased structure is best performed with a small diameter probe or thin, sharp fixture. A larger probe such as a platen, cylinder or sphere will give bulk compressive properties but will not resolve the properties of each layer. It is beneficial to penetrate the sample slowly in most cases to give a larger time gap between fracture or puncture events so they can be more easily identified.

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.