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

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Developing Vegan Products whilst Maintaining the Desired Texture

Roughly 1% of the UK follow a vegan lifestyle – a small percentage, but nonetheless an enormous number of consumers are represented by the vegan community. 

Even vegetarians and meat eaters are starting to eat less meat and choose vegan alternatives due to increasing awareness of the benefits to the environment, animal welfare, health reasons and simply to keep up with food trends. Vegan food has improved greatly during its rise in popularity over the past few decades. 

Consumers of vegan food still want to eat traditional snacks and meals such as pizza, cakes and gummy sweets, but these foods traditionally contain animal products such as gelatine, butter and cheese. However, crucial to the enjoyment of these products by the discerning consumer, their texture must be spot on. Here are a few examples of the way texture development can keep your customers satisfied by new vegan releases.

Gummy sweets are often made using pork gelatine, which has been replaced with potato starch in the past for a fairly close alternative, but it still did not give that stretchy character to the sweets. However, recent developments to potato starches have drastically improved this texture, and are available at a lower cost than pork gelatine itself. To assess the resilience of the first bite into a gummy sweet, a compression test can be very informative, and holding the force for a minute or more represents its relaxation behaviour.

Modified potato starch is also an excellent emulsifier in egg-free mayonnaise. To ensure the consistency of the product is kept the same, a back extrusion test is very useful. Stable Micro Systems offer a Back Extrusion Rig specifically for this use.
One of the products missed the most by people who convert to veganism is cheese. It is more filling than many other food items due to its high protein content and satisfying flavour. As with gummy sweets, the first bite is perhaps the most important. The Fracture Wedge Set is a very useful accessory to help monitor cheese texture. Consisting of two 30° wedges, the wedge set mimics the bite of the two front teeth. The main parameters that can be extracted from this test data are hardness and toughness.
Finally, many vegans still crave meat products such as sausages. A large number of meat replacements are now available and they have improved an enormous amount since the early days of vegan sausages. The Warner-Bratzler Blade by Stable Micro Systems provides useful information about the cutting properties of sausages, ensuring the texture of your vegan product is as close as possible to the real thing. This blade has a V-shaped cut out, keeping the round sausage in place as it is cut all the way through.

One of the main difficulties vegan food presents is the inferior texture compared to the meat alternatives. Stable Micro Systems can help you to keep your customers happy.

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.

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Watch our video about texture analysis Replicating Consumer Preferences Texture Analysis applications

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