Texture Analysis Professionals Blog

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

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Testing fresh individual vegetable texture

Girl eating celery
As opposed to fruits, which are generally picked when mature but unripe, many vegetables (apart from legume seeds, tubers, bulbs and roots) are picked and consumed when still immature, tender and succulent.
This is largely due to the fact that while fruits generally soften on maturation and storage, young vegetables become tougher when they age. This toughening is due to the lignification of the primary cell wall and formation of the secondary cell wall. When cucumbers are stored below 7°C, their texture breaks down due to excessive softening and exudation of liquid as tissue undergoes a structural collapse. Tomatoes are also susceptible to low-temperature injury.

Many of the form, structure and physiological considerations discussed in connection with fruit texture also apply to vegetable texture. The main difference is that, while on maturation the fruit tissue stops growing and suffers enzymatic degradation, the vegetable tissue proceeds to differentiate and cell growth and enlargement continue. The amount of fibrous tissue increases. Toughening may reach the point where the vegetable is no longer suitable for human consumption.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Measuring Vegetable Texture and Vegetable Product Quality

Variety of vegetables on forksFrom the point of view of texture, vegetables represent a very diverse group of products. They can be consumed in many different textural forms.

For instance, cooked asparagus is soft, fibrous and pulpy, cucumber is crisp, firm and juicy, raw carrots are hard and crisp, and cooked peas are soft and mealy. The tissue structure in each case determines the texture as received by the consumer.

For many types of vegetables, consumer acceptance of the product is decisively influenced by the vegetable’s texture, along with other qualities such as colour, smell and taste. Texture is a critical quality attribute to all vegetables, whether it is to assess ripeness or functional performance in their processed forms.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Developing foods containing algae

Alternative protein samples
According to Food Technology magazine, “It’s relatively easy to predict what consumers will be eating within a few years but what about further ahead?

"This is the million-dollar question keeping the food and beverage industry on its toes. Will our diets evolve into the realms of science fiction?

"Based on what we know now, food shortages will be a growing issue, so many will be looking to new sources of nutrition. Because of this, experts believe diets will be based on protein-rich insects and nutrient-dense algae, both of which could offer sustainable alternatives to resource-intensive farming.”

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Food product design serving Generation Z

Selfie girls with ice cream
In the immediate future, it’s time for Millenials to move over. Generation Z is coming of age and is set to become the purchasing powerhouse of the global economy.

Research has shown that Generation Zers (typically born after 1995) to be more health conscious, more open minded and more international in their habits compared to Millenials, meaning we can expect some significant changes in the years ahead.

Generation Z has the potential to reset expectations for health and wellness, increase the reach of international cuisine, and heighten creativity in the kitchen. This means food manufacturers should be looking to produce more healthy formulations based on fruits and vegetables, more internationally diverse ingredients and flavours, as well as more interactive products enabling creative experiences. This is where texture will play a large part in creating those culinary experiences and where texture analysis is equipped to test and measure the result of food manufacturers' new creations.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Latest Texture Analysis in Research: Acoustics

Fluted crisps

There’s an entire industry dedicated to making foods crispy. Ever wondered why we are so drawn to the snap of a potato chip or the crackle of fried chicken – it’s down to biology, psychology and an incredible amount of engineering.

Crispness is a critical attribute of quality for crispy products, which can be evaluated through both instrumental and sensory analysis.  Here is a round-up of the type of research that is going on around the world into this amazing textural feature.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Latest Texture Analysis in Research: Vegetables

Variety of vegetables on forks

Is there a best technique to cook vegetables? A study carried out at the University of Brazil about physical and sensory aspects to stimulate their consumption has attempted to answer this. 

Consumers are becoming more health-conscious and have less time to prepare meals. They are often confused about which time and cooking method are adequate to preserve nutrients in vegetables. All cooking techniques cause changes in the nutrient content and the taste of a vegetable. 

The objective of this study was to determine the best cooking method for different vegetables using sensory evaluation and instrumental analysis of texture and colour. The chosen vegetables for this study were broccoli, carrot and Brazilian zucchini because they are among the most consumed vegetables in Brazil. The cooking methods were boiling, steaming, cooking in the combined oven, microwave, and steaming in the microwave.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Texture Analysis: A tool in the fight against HIV

Surgical team at workHIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in the immune system and weakens a person’s ability to fight everyday infections and disease.

While AIDS cannot be transmitted from one person to another, the HIV virus can. There is currently no cure for HIV, but there are very effective drug treatments that enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.

In the three decades since the first cases of AIDS were reported, investments in basic, biomedical, behavioural, and social science research have led to numerous HIV prevention interventions and life-saving treatments. Texture Analysis has an important role in this research, specifically in the improvement of drug delivery systems. This blog post contains some examples of Texture Analysis in HIV research in recent years.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

How Texture Analysis is helping save our planet

Girl hugging a globe
In a world that has woken up to the reality of climate change and other environmental matters, a large amount of research goes into developing eco-friendlier approaches to everyday objects and processes. 

Environmental concerns have become more important to consumers, leading many companies to design products around sustainability principles. This can be focussed on reducing energy consumption in manufacturing processes, improving recyclability, using waste products or replacing materials with biodegradable alternatives. 

Texture Analysis plays an important role in ensuring standards are maintained in areas such as material mechanical properties and food texture. A large amount of research in this area occurs in an academic context; this blog post contains some examples of Texture Analysis in Research.