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

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Pasta and Rice Texture Measurement and Analysis

Dry fusilli pasta pieces In the UK alone – quite apart from the dried versions – almost £150 million was spent on fresh pasta and noodles in the year to February 2015. 

Despite sluggish global volume growth, pasta offers great opportunities to international manufacturers. Sales in Western Europe will be driven by increasing demand for premium products and health properties, while in Eastern Europe, tourism to Italy will encourage consumer interest for Mediterranean cuisine. And the multi-functionality of pasta, often used as a core ingredient in soup, will propel sales in regions such as South America.

Innovation will be key to the performance of chilled/fresh pasta in Western Europe in the next few years, while dried pasta sales will be hampered by maturing consumer demand and its relatively poor health perception when compared with chilled/fresh pasta products. Wholegrain, gluten-free and fortified pasta may increase market share at the expense of less differentiated products.

Pasta is manufactured in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Quality control methods, which are often subjective in pasta production, are increasingly implemented with objective test equipment to monitor the production of consistent, high standards. Many test methods have been adopted from wheat flour quality assessment for breadmaking, but those specific to pasta have also been developed for the rheological assessment of durum flour or semolina.

Stable Micro Systems has developed objective tests for evaluating texture of formed pasta, both cooked and uncooked, demonstrating how Quality Assurance (QA) depends not only on ingredient quality, but also on other variables such as processing methods. A range of probes and fixtures for these objective tests, which have shown good potential for use as research and QA methods, is readily available.

To measure pasta texture, tests designed for use in near-line production include break strength and flexure of dried pasta, and tensile strength, firmness and stickiness tests for the cooked product. These tests, carried out on the TA.XTplus texture analyser in conjunction with Exponent software, have been developed for use as a practical, fast and cost effective quality control device.

Meanwhile, global rice production stands at approximately 500 million tonnes per year. The almost universal usage of this staple food makes it an obvious area for texture analysis testing, and the development of the Rice Extrusion Rig has been the first response.

This rig allows the determination of rice kernel resistance to extrusion after cooking according to ISO 11747. A small cooked rice sample is pushed down the testing cell by a plunger, compressing the rice before extruding through holes in a base extrusion plate.  

Resistance to extrusion is measured as the ease of pushing cooked rice through this perforated plate using compression and shear. 

Watch the video below to see a summary of the types of testing possibilities that are available for the measurement of pasta and rice products.

Texture Analysis video

You can also visit our website's Pasta and RIce Applications page...
Watch our video about testing of pasta productsDownload a published article covering methods for the testing of pasta products

Browse our range of pasta and noodle testing solutions

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