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

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Predicting Consumer Juiciness Ratings of Meat

Cutting raw meat
Texture is the most important sensory trait when evaluating meat products. 

According to researchers at the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada: “The four important factors that determine meat tenderness are background toughness (determined antemortem), the toughening phase during rigor onset, the tenderisation phase (during the postmortem aging period), and the denaturation/solubilisation of proteins during cooking. 

Logically, antemortem factors that influence the moisture or fat content of meat, as well as the effects of the toughening, tenderisation, and cooking phases on proteins, also affect meat juiciness. Thus, numerous ante- and postmortem factors may have a significant influence on the final tenderness and juiciness of meat.”

In beef products, tenderness and juiciness interact to form overall texture and mouthfeel. As a result, beef juiciness is one of the most important factors in creating a satisfactory beef eating experience. The complexity of beef texture and juiciness has provided fertile grounds for research endeavours over the past century.  

Measurement of Texture and Juiciness

Compression test on meatball
Compression test on meatball
Due to the complexity of texture, numerous objective measurements have been developed in raw and cooked meat to describe texture parameters including, but not limited to, tenderness, cohesiveness, firmness, and elasticity.  The complexity of juiciness also causes difficulties in performing objective measurements. WHC (Water Holding Capacity) can be used as an objective parameter related to meat juiciness.

A 2014 study by Woolley developed an instrumental technique for measuring beef juiciness and predicting consumer beef juiciness satisfaction. The method utilises a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to compress cooked beef samples for a period of 8 seconds at 17.6 lb of force and quantifies the percentage of moisture lost as Pressed Juice Percentage (PJP), a predictor of beef juiciness. 

Although sensory analysis has been the only reliable method to directly measure juiciness, WHC is commonly used as an indicator in raw meat. There are three main ways to measure the WHC in raw meat: applying no force, applying mechanical force, and capillary action methods. Drip loss is the main method to measure WHC in meat in which the only force on the meat is gravity. Drip loss is a very sensitive method but is time and space consuming. 

After cutting, the samples are immediately weighed and suspended or packed in retail packages, and then held at 0–4°C for either 24 or 48 hours. The drip in this method is thought to result from lateral shrinkage of myofibrils postmortem, causing water to be expelled into the extracellular space.

Eating a burger
Other methods applied to measure WHC in raw meat require the use of some sort of pressure to encourage fluid removal. Thus, in the filter paper press method, the pressure is created by applying a vertical weight on a small sample between two pre-weighed filter papers. 

The water which is squeezed out is absorbed by the filter paper and the amount of water released from the sample is measured either directly by weighing the filter papers or indirectly by measuring the area of the ring of expressed fluid. This method has the advantage of small samples, easy operation, and rapidity.

To read more about the Kansas State University research, click here...

Juiciness is just one aspect of the texture of meat which has numerous possibilities for measurement using a Texture Analyser.

We can design and manufacture probes or fixtures for the TA.XTplus texture analyser that are bespoke to your sample and its specific measurement.

Once your measurement is performed, our expertise in its graphical interpretation is unparalleled. Not only can we develop the most suitable and accurate method for the testing of your sample, but we can also prepare analysis procedures that obtain the desired parameters from your curve and drop them into a spreadsheet or report designed around your requirements.

For more information on how to measure texture, please visit the Texture Analysis Properties section on our website.

TA.XTplus texture analyser with bloom jar The
TA.XTplus texture analyser is part of a family of texture analysis instruments and equipment from Stable Micro Systems. An extensive portfolio of specialist attachments is available to measure and analyse the textural properties of a huge range of food products. Our technical experts can also custom design instrument fixtures according to individual specifications.

No-one understands texture analysis like we do!

To discuss your specific test requirements click here...

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