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

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Substituting your Meat at mealtimes: Part 8: Sliced meat and Quorn – texture comparison

Film Support Rig - sliced meat
Sliced meat: how does it hold together?
How a sliced meat or meat substitute holds together is an important textural expectation of the consumer. The binding characteristics of the sliced product can be greatly affected by its formulation and processing thus affecting its tensile strength.

Whilst tensile grips or pneumatic grips are the traditional choice for tensile testing there are alternatives for a soft and thin product such as sliced meat. A Film Support Rig (shown in Figure 16) is designed to hold small amounts of thin or film-like material in a drum configuration in order to measure the biextensional properties of the films using a puncture test. 

A 5mm diameter spherical probe is driven downwards to the centre of the film holder’s aperture. The special raised perspex internal lip increases the tension without any operator error or variability. A top plate prevents the sample from slipping during testing. The test is then carried out as the arm of the texture analyser brings a 5mm stainless steel ball probe down into the aperture. 

Test results graph - sliced meat

Test results table - sliced meat

During a test the maximum force to rupture the product and the distance at which the rupture occurs are typically recorded - a higher force and distance indicating a product that possesses greater tensile strength and elasticity when extended.

Results of sliced ham sample tests (Figure 17a/17b) show that it requires higher force to tear but has a much higher standard deviation, indicating large sample variability across the slice. Sliced Quorn requires less force to tear and is less extensible but standard deviation. is smaller due to its homogenous nature.

Having compared several meat products and their non-meat counterparts using the most suitable methods for the sample form, it is clear that manufacturers are still working with the challenge of improving the texture of new meat substitute products so that they provide the same textural expectations as meat. 

Meat is complex, and clearly, faking it isn’t easy...

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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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