Texture Analysis Professionals Blog

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

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Physical Property Measurement: Introduction to Fracture

What is Fracture? This is the first of a set of blog posts on the subject of fracture testing. Traditional information on fracture testing focusses on techniques for assessing engineering materials using standard methods and strict geometries. However, these may not be so useful for the typical user of a Texture Analyser.

The loosest definition of fracture is “a form of failure in which the material separates into two or more pieces due to an applied load”. Fracture strength is the stress at which a specimen fails or fractures. Fracture can be brittle, ductile or semi-ductile. This refers to the nature of deformation and will be covered in the next post.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

 Measuring Food Quality with a Texture Analyser

More than ever before, the food industry is finding itself forced, through outside pressures, to improve constantly its product quality and to maintain that quality at a consistently high level. Food quality is an important concept, because the foods people choose depend largely on quality.

Consumer preference is important to the food manufacturer, who wants to gain as wide a share of the market for the product as possible. Quality is difficult to define precisely, but it refers to the degree of excellence of a food and includes all the characteristics of a food that are significant, and that make the food acceptable.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Texture: The Final Frontier of Food Science?

Back in February, Kendra Pierre-Louis of Popular Science wrote this interesting article.  

She indicated that ‘Tweaking texture could give us healthy versions of our favourite junk foods—and that's just the beginning.’

She talks about how she has embraced culinary novelties such as glass potato chips, grilled whale and poisonous shark but cannot stomach the sensation of hollandaise sauce.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Food Texture – Likes and Dislikes

Apart from crispy foods like crackling, British consumers embrace softer-feeling food.  Industrialised, processed food is often marketed as soft and creamy in the UK, with adverts for such foods playing on the sensual and comfort associations that have set in from a young age.

Our childhood association with pureed food is one of the reasons we turn to soups when we are ill.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The Vocabulary of Food Texture

The chef Mario Batali says that the single word “crispy” will sell a restaurant dish quicker than any number of clever adjectives. 

Picture “aubergines” on a menu. You might hesitate to order them, fearing they would be flaccid or oily, as they so often are. Now think how much more appealing “crispy aubergines” sound. “Crispy” makes everything appear as safe and crunchy as chips.

The word’s universal appeal is a sign of how much we are governed by texture in what we eat. Yet we hardly seem to mention it (unlike in China, where many foods, from fungus to tripe, are prized for texture alone).

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Food Texture around the World

Gristly, gelatinous, bony textures, say in pig's ears or bird's feet, are usually shunned in the UK, whilst goose intestines, sea cucumbers, chickens' feet and ducks' tongues are just some of the fiddly, gelatinous, gristly dishes that are regarded as delicacies. 

In China, kou gan (meaning "mouth-feel") is highly celebrated and texture in these dishes means everything. In Victorian cookery books, whole birds and the feet of animals were celebrated with relish, while in other parts of the world, such as China, foods enjoyed purely for their challenging textural pleasure are highly prized.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Desire to Chew

There’s more to chewing than you might think. It’s arguably the first digestive activity that we bring to a meal, and unlike the chemical processes that occur in our gut, chewing falls under our conscious control. 

But chewing is more than a digestive aid. It also has a potent psychological function that helps keep body, mind and emotions in balance, according to The Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Sensory Analysis and Definitions of Food Texture

The process of sensory evaluation starts with a well trained sensory panel – a group of humans who will judge sensory qualities. 

To carry out a meaningful texture profile analysis, a panel of judges needs to have knowledge of the texture classification system, the use of standard rating scales and the correct procedures related to the mechanics of testing. Panellist training should start with a clear definition of each attribute.