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

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Substituting your Meat at mealtimes: Part 2: Texture Measurement of Meat and non-Meat Products

MeatballsAs whole tissue, meat is a natural product that possesses inherent variability due to many factors. As a sample for testing this can present a common problem to assess the texture repeatably. 

Processed meats are of three general types: deli-styles (for example turkey, bologna), that are sliced; formed meats (meat balls, meat patties, chicken patties, chicken nuggets); and sausage-style meats, which are usually tubular shaped. Processed meats are often investigated to assess, for instance, ideal combinations of ingredients, evaluate contribution of processing methods/times and highlight quality inconsistencies. 


However, the measurement issues are different for each type of processed meat. Deli-style meats need to balance the binders and texturising ingredients to obtain perfect firmness, cohesiveness and low adhesiveness (so that they can be cut) and the correct springiness and resilience to match consumer expectations. Formed meats need to balance moderate firmness (as too much muscle meat identity is not good in a patty) with strong cohesion (since these products are usually handled roughly but must remain whole. 

Many formed meats are often breaded so crispness is a major textural attribute. The meat substitute needs to have the same textural expectations of the meat product they are trying to mimic.

Processed meat products are generally more uniform in texture by way of the processing involved in their preparation and as such it is usually easier to find a successful repeatable method for the assessment of their overall texture. The following present a review of some of the types of methods available for the assessment of meat and meat products with some more recent approaches to improve on the repeatability of these quantitative assessments.


Texture Analysis: How to assess/compare your no-meat product texture with the real version?


TA.XTplus/TA.HDplus texture analysers
The TA.XTplus and TA.HDplus texture analysers (Figure 1) provide the flexibility of testing principles (e.g. compression, penetration, tension, extrusion, etc.) and the endless option of probes and fixtures for the measurement of such properties as firmness, springiness, crispness, bite force etc. 

If the first assessment of meat texture characteristics by a consumer is to cut or bite through the fibres, a logical test approach would be to measure the force to cut or break the fibres to provide an indication of what the consumer might perceive. The biting action is used as a basis of many devices designed to provide a measure that will closely relate to human assessment.


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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!

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Watch our video about testing of meat and meat productsDownload a published article on testing meat products

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