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

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Measuring Powder Flow – Drinking Powders, Sugars & Sweeteners

Powder Flow Analysis can speed up production of your favourite drinkThe flow properties of powdered and granulated food products are of great importance in industry as they affect the storage, conveyance, and packaging of the merchandise. 

Certain dried goods such as drinking powders and sweeteners are used directly by consumers, and their flow properties have an influence on acceptance of the product.  

In this video we show examples of the difference in flowability of such products as sugar (caster, granulated, icing, light soft brown, granular sweetener), drinking powders (coffee granules, coffee powder, coffee whitener, drinking chocolate, malt drinking powder), loose tea and baby formula and the tool for the measurement of their flow properties.     

Cutting-edge technology for flexibility…
Being able to measure powder/granule flow is of prime importance to manufacturers, but as quality standards continue to rise, few can afford to stop there. Finished product testing is essential to ensure correct performance and safeguard reputation, sales and market share. 

By using a Powder Flow Analyser, manufacturers are able to change the attachments on the instrument for testing semi-finished and finished products as well. This offers considerable financial savings, as well as simplifying training and releasing valuable lab space. 

Watch our video now...

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...

Watch our video about Powder Flow Analysis Problems with Powder
 Powder Flow Analysis

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Checking Texture of Savoury Snacks when fat and salt are reduced

Eating a crisp
In terms of health and nutrition, one of the greatest successes for the UK and US industries over the last decade has undoubtedly been the changes to the vegetable oils which are used to fry savoury snacks, and which are an integral part of the finished product. 

The industry has worked closely with oilseed developers and suppliers, moving away from the traditional use of palm oil and palm olein fractions as the primary part of vegetable oil blends, and moved towards alternative oils which are lower in saturated fat such as sunflower and rapeseed oils.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Measuring Powder Flow – Cleaning & Washing Products

When it comes to production delays, you can always keep a clean sheet.As costs are required to be driven down, the substitution of expensive constituents with lower cost powders is an attractive prospect. 

Although these substitutes may be produced to the same specification as the original substance, they may not necessarily store, convey and process as easily. Discovering this after production has started would incur downtime and additional cost. Final product quality may also be compromised.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Using Texture Analysis in the Development of Healthy Snacks for Kids

Healthy snack with school books
With the problem of childhood obesity capturing headlines as never before, many parents are looking critically at their children’s diets, giving greater attention to factors such as fat and sugar content when choosing breakfast options, packing lunches and planning dinners. 

But while many parents try to help their kids choose healthier between-meal snacks, they tend to do so with a focus on minimising the negative (fat and sugars), but overlook the opportunity to increase the positive (protein, fibre and other nutrients).

The chief concern is that most snack foods designed to appeal to children tend to deliver plenty of carbohydrates, fats and sugar, but fall short on delivery of vitamins, minerals and fibre. At best, this is a missed opportunity in the area of child nutrition.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Measuring Powder Flow – Nuts, Seeds & Pulses

The seeds of a tiresome production holdup were never too far away - until now.In products using nuts, seeds or pulses, many common manufacturing problems are attributed to powder or granule flow, including segregation, inaccurate filling of packaging, obstructions and stoppages. 

These in turn lead to machine downtime and defective end-products. Storage, handling, production, packing, distribution and end use can all be negatively affected by common powder/granule flow problems. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Formulating the Perfect ‘Free-From’ Cake

Girl eating gateau with spoonBaking a cake from scratch at home for a family member’s birthday celebration is one thing; baking a cake for sale in a grocery store is another. 

As long as you use the correct ingredients and follow the recipe, the cake you bake at home is pretty much guaranteed to be moist and delicious. 

However, cake products that are produced for sale in grocery stores, convenience stores, and vending machines have to survive the rigours of industrial processing and packaging, shipping, and shelf life. Some are packaged and sold as ready-to-eat products, while others are baked and frozen. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Measuring Powder Flow – Personal Care Powders

Is the flowability of your powder based personal care production a problem?
The Powder Flow Analyser will be welcomed by the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries as it allows objective testing of ingredients, blends and finished products, from eye shadows and foundations to gels and face powders.

Product development teams can evaluate the flow properties of new excipients, active ingredients and formulations, predicting their behaviour prior to commencing large-scale production. They can also check how new powders interact with existing constituents. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Healthy living presents new textural challenges

Texture Analyser in use
As manufacturers work hard to comply with the ever increasing demands of the modern day consumer – be it low-fat, low-sugar, high fibre – texture analysis plays an increasingly important role. 

Continual enhancement of the quality of existing products, as well as NPD, is key to the success of a brand. Using sophisticated texture analysis instruments, manufacturers can ensure high quality production and, ultimately, consumer satisfaction.

Weight management and healthy eating are still top of the agenda for today’s consumer. Recent reports show that consumer awareness of the importance of nutrition and nutritious consumption is ever increasing  – statistics which are supported by an upsurge in sales of low-fat, low-calorie, high-fibre and omega-3 rich products. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Measuring Powder Flow – Grain Products

Baking can't happen if the basic ingredients won't flow...
Some of the most common powder handling problems arise when conveying from storage silos or bins into production. 

Often the powder or grain will have been motionless for hours, days, or even weeks before flow is required. Over this time, most powders or granules will compact with the result that far more energy is needed to cause flow than in aerated samples. On the other hand, powders used immediately after transport, which may have involved agitation or more pronounced vibration, will have been aerated and flow more easily than others that have been stored. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Texture of Food for Infants

Baby's hand with jar of foodThe weaning period is a transition from milk to family foods and is a critical phase for the development of food acceptance and eating habits of children. 

The texture of the food introduced plays an important role in shaping preferences. Texture acceptance follows the developmental sequence of oral functions and infants are more likely to accept texture they can manipulate in their mouth. 

Presently, ready-to-eat foods are an important part of weaning foods in most of the developing and developed countries. These commercial preparations meet nutritional needs at different age groups. Nevertheless, there is limited information available on the texture of these commercial preparations. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: Alphabetical Attachments Index

Over the past year or so, our Texture Analysis in Action blog posts have brought together information from our Applications Directories and other sources, along with videos of the tests in progress, to give a detailed overview of our test attachment range.

Now you can access these posts individually, by clicking on the links below.

You can of course also filter any other blog post series which may be of interest to you, by using the Filter by Label facility.

Why not bookmark this page, so that you can refer to these posts at your convenience in future?

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Measuring Powder Flow – Building & Decorating Materials

Now you can build a sound platform for smooth flowing powder production.
Many common manufacturing problems are attributed to powder flow, including non-uniformity (segregation) in blending, under- or over-dosage, inaccurate filling, obstructions and stoppages. 

These in turn lead to rejected material, machine downtime and defective end-products. Storage, handling, production, packing, distribution and end use can all be negatively affected by common powder flow problems.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: Peel Testing

Spaghetti flexure test using the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserStable Micro Systems offers a number of alternative fixtures for testing Peel Strength.

Significant improvements have been made to previous designs of peel rig for evaluating the quality and strength of container seals and adhesive bonds.

Assessment of the peel properties of a foil container lid
Assessment of the peel properties of
a foil container lid
The Universal Peel Rig consists of a multi-position platform which is adjustable to allow the container to be held at 0, 45 and 90 degrees. The platform is screwed securely into position on the base of the Texture Analyser, to suit the container. An adjustable rubber strap accommodates different sized containers and multiple shapes. 

When attached to the peel tab of the container, a low profile peel clip and post maximise the peel length for use on a standard height Texture Analyser.

Click to view application videoIn combination with a software macro, the appropriate test fixture produces fast, accurate results for comparing batches in packaging and adhesive quality control and product development programmes.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Measuring the Texture of Added Flavours to Food

Measuring Powdered/Granulated Ingredients
Stock cubes Everyone knows the incomparable taste of 
homemade sauces and gravies, painstakingly created from a fond or bouillon, formed by the prolonged simmering of bones, offcuts of meat and vegetables. 
Whilst the flavour is unmistakable, their preparation is extremely time-consuming and expensive. The food manufacturer has available a wide range of ingredients that can be used to create sauces and gravies with relative ease and convenience. Bouillon powders or cubes are commonly available.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Adhesive Indexing System and Adhesive Testing

Spaghetti flexure test using the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserThere is a sizeable range of attachments available, each of which is designed to carry out various aspects of adhesive testing.

Using this device, a 90 degree peel angle is maintained by the use of a cord and pulley system. A strip of tape is applied to the test bed or other standard surface of interest (according to customer specifications). 

The tape is peeled from the panel at a 90º angle at a specified rate, during which time the force required to effect peel is measured. 

The test is commonly used for quality assurance purposes where the minimum or maximum peel values expected for a particular tape can form an acceptance criterion.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: Tensile Grips range

Seal strength test using the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserTENSILE GRIPS RANGE: A/TG, A/MTG and A/ATG

The gripping action of the A/TG tensile grips is provided by a screw initiated vice clamp operating on knurled jaw faces of 35mm x 35mm. 

They are general purpose knurled jaw face grips suitable for holding samples which have a uniform rectangular shape and a maximum thickness of 25mm. 

The A/MTG Mini Tensile Grips have smaller jaw faces of 25mm x 10mm, with a maximum opening of 8mm. Used for assessment of tensile characteristics of samples such as packaging materials, plastic and aluminium film; and also (in a cycling motion) the flexibility of e.g. chewing gum sticks and confectionery leathers.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Keeping an eye on the quality of Ocular Delivery Products using Texture Analysis

Girl inserting a contact lens
Treatment of some diseases is best achieved by direct administration near the affected area, particularly with diseases involving ophthalmic, optic, dermal, oral cavity, and anorectal tissues.

Ocular drug delivery is an interesting and challenging opportunity for pharmaceutical development. 

The eye is protected by a series of complex defence mechanisms, which usually result in poor bioavailability of drugs administered via the ocular route. These include tear production and the blinking reflex in addition to short residence time and reduced drug permeability. The drug bioavailability can be enhanced either by providing prolonged/sustained delivery to the eye or by facilitating transcorneal penetration. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Powder Compaction Rig

Syringe RIg test using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser
Powder Compaction Rigs:
Low Tolerance (left); High Tolerance (right)
The Stable Micro Systems POWDER COMPACTION RIG is available in two variants.

The High Tolerance Powder Compaction Rig (A/PCRS) is suited to high force applications where the punch/die clearance is critical; this fixture is auto-aligned using a universal adapter.

The Low Tolerance Powder Compaction Rig (A/PCR) is suited to other powder compaction applications such as assessing granule friability, where the punch/die clearance is less critical.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The use of Texture Analysis in Medical Device Development

Hypodermic syringe with needleTexture Analysis, which has long been used by the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic
industries, is now increasingly being used to evaluate properties of medical devices. 

Texture analysis refers to properties such as firmness, adhesiveness, cohesiveness, tackiness, swelling/absorption, in addition to relaxation behaviour, fatigue and brittleness. For many of these tests, standard methods lag behind product development. 

Regulatory agencies including the FDA have used the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to evaluate medical devices. In addition, the patent literature increasingly relies on texture analysis to validate claims. 

Read on for more examples of the application of texture analysis to the future of medical devices...

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Rice Extrusion Rig

Rice extrusion test using the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserThe RICE EXTRUSION RIG (HDP/RE) allows the determination of rice kernel resistance to extrusion after cooking according to ISO 11747.  

The standard is the outcome of inter-laboratory testing and was prepared by the ISO/TC34 Technical Committee for Cereals and Pulses.  

The sample is tested after cooking (parboiled or not parboiled) under specified conditions. A small sample is placed in the testing cell of the rig. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Cosmetic and Skincare Product Texture Measurement and Analysis

Eye make-up The global beauty industry was valued at $465bn in 2014, up 23bn which came in equal proportions from premium and mass brands. 

Skincare and haircare dominated the global market and is where future potential lies, especially in facial moisturisers, anti-agers and face masks.

Before paint was ever splashed onto canvas or cave walls, it was daubed on faces and bodies, not only for symbolic purposes but for decoration too. Today, a plethora of beauty products are seen lined up in the display windows and shelves of shops and stores everywhere.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Tablet Disintegration Rig

Tablet Disintegration Rig test using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser The TABLET DISINTEGRATION RIG* (A/TDR)

A thorough analysis of disintegration behaviour is vital for the formulation of new fast-melt tablets (FMTs) to ensure reliable and consistent drug release.

The tablet or wafer has to be resilient enough to endure manufacturing and shipping, yet release sufficient disintegrants to deliver an optimum dissolution rate. The Tablet Disintegration Rig facilitates reliable assessment of the mechanical properties of FMTs.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Quantifying the mechanical properties of New Materials

Frayed rope under tension
In laboratories around the world, scientists are finding new ways to manipulate matter at increasingly small scales, as well as drawing inspiration from biological materials. 

This revolution is giving us substances with properties that were once confined to the pages of science fiction books. 

But these materials are more than just scientific curiosities – they are genuinely useful, to the point that as applications start to emerge they will radically change our world. Here are some amazing examples… 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Ice Cream Scoop and Ice Cream Cone Support Rig

Ice cream scoop force test using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser Two of our test attachments have been designed specifically for use in the development of frozen confectionery.

The ICE CREAM SCOOP (A/ICS) is used to measure the scooping resistance of ice cream, and other similar samples which can be formed into a self-supporting block.

A tilt-table is mounted on to the base of the Texture Analyser and the scoop positioned onto the load cell.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Ensuring consistent quality in Rectal Delivery Products

Holding a gel capsule
Although administration via the peroral route is the most commonly targeted goal of new drug and dosage form research and development, oral administration is not always feasible or desirable. 

The potential for oral dosage form development is severely limited for active agents that are poorly absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and unstable to proteolytic enzymes. Some agents cause local stomach or upper GI irritation or require doses in excess of 500mg. Additionally, treatment of some diseases is best achieved by direct administration near the affected area, particularly with diseases involving anorectal tissues. 

Although oral administration can be used for drugs targeted for some of these diseased tissues, exposure of the entire body compartment to the administered drug is inefficient and can lead to undesired adverse effects. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Wire Cutter

Wire Cutter attachment on the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserOne of our simpler test attachments is the WIRE CUTTER (A/BC). 

This device incorporates a standard 0.3mm diameter wire, which is supported on a frame enabling it to cut through a 500g block of butter or similar self-supporting block-form sample. 

It can be used to measure the firmness of butter, ice cream or margarine and the consistency of cheese by measuring the force to drive the wire through the sample.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Pasta and Rice Texture Measurement and Analysis

Dry fusilli pasta pieces In the UK alone – quite apart from the dried versions – almost £150 million was spent on fresh pasta and noodles in the year to February 2015. 

Despite sluggish global volume growth, pasta offers great opportunities to international manufacturers. Sales in Western Europe will be driven by increasing demand for premium products and health properties, while in Eastern Europe, tourism to Italy will encourage consumer interest for Mediterranean cuisine. And the multi-functionality of pasta, often used as a core ingredient in soup, will propel sales in regions such as South America.

Innovation will be key to the performance of chilled/fresh pasta in Western Europe in the next few years, while dried pasta sales will be hampered by maturing consumer demand and its relatively poor health perception when compared with chilled/fresh pasta products. Wholegrain, gluten-free and fortified pasta may increase market share at the expense of less differentiated products.

Pasta is manufactured in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Quality control methods, which are often subjective in pasta production, are increasingly implemented with objective test equipment to monitor the production of consistent, high standards. Many test methods have been adopted from wheat flour quality assessment for breadmaking, but those specific to pasta have also been developed for the rheological assessment of durum flour or semolina.

Stable Micro Systems has developed objective tests for evaluating texture of formed pasta, both cooked and uncooked, demonstrating how Quality Assurance (QA) depends not only on ingredient quality, but also on other variables such as processing methods. A range of probes and fixtures for these objective tests, which have shown good potential for use as research and QA methods, is readily available.

To measure pasta texture, tests designed for use in near-line production include break strength and flexure of dried pasta, and tensile strength, firmness and stickiness tests for the cooked product. These tests, carried out on the TA.XTplus texture analyser in conjunction with Exponent software, have been developed for use as a practical, fast and cost effective quality control device.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Abrasion Test Rig

Syringe RIg test using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser The ABRASION TEST RIG (HDP/ATR) analyses the frictional properties of a wide range of materials such as sandpaper, dental abrasive strips and flexible nail files.

This enables manufacturers to highlight strengths, weaknesses and variations in product lines and materials.

Prior to performing the test, a sample of the abrasive material is held in place in a self-tightening grip. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: Friction Testing

Horizontal Friction System fitted to the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserStable Micro Systems offers two options for Friction Testing attachments.

The HORIZONTAL FRICTION SYSTEM (A/HFS) comprises a support leg and levelling feet which are fixed to the Texture Analyser, so that the assembly can be laid in a horizontal position. 

A platform is fitted to the base on which a friction sled, which is attached to the loadcell, is constrained to slide over the sample.

Additional load may be provided by adding weights positioned centrally on the sled. This arrangement offers the advantage of measuring sliding friction in both directions and also during cycling. Typical applications include films, creams and packaging.

Comparison of ease of spreading of two moisturising creams
Comparison of ease of spreading of
two moisturising creams

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Testing the Mechanical Strength of Coronary Stents

Coronary stent
Vascular stents are commonly used as a minimally invasive way to treat stenosis in arteries and improve blood flow to the heart, kidneys, brain and legs. 

Due to the challenging service environment that stents face in vivo, the radial stiffness of a stent is critical to its function of keeping the arteries open and eliminating abrupt closure. Measurements and reporting methods of a stent’s radial stiffness both assist industry in the development of new stent designs and allow regulatory authorities to better evaluate these designs.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Sachet/Tube Extrusion Rig

Toothpaste extrusion test using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser
The SACHET/TUBE EXTRUSION RIG (A/STE) is a device which extrudes the contents of sachet and tube style packaging.

It has been designed to allow manufacturers of pharmaceutical, cosmetic and personal care products to quantify the ease of removal and application of products such as ointments, creams and gels.

The rig positions the product vertically between two rollers, clamping the closed end with a grip at the top. The grip then pulls the sachet/tube upwards through the rollers, forcing the contents out whilst measuring the force required.

Product developers can analyse changes in a product’s consistency throughout its shelf-life and adapt formulations accordingly whilst also enabling manufacturers to assess the suitability of packaging material and its construction.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Mysterious 'Q Texture' You Didn't Even Know Your Food Was Missing!

"Chewy. Gummy. Bouncy. Rubbery. These aren't typically flattering words when it comes to food. 

"That is, they're not traditionally complimentary in the United States or Europe. In Taiwan and often in other parts of East Asia, it's a different story. These adjectives describe a beloved texture – a food quality sought after, not shunned. It's called the "Q" texture, or the mystery food characteristic you didn't even know you were missing". 

These are words recently written by Alison Spiegel at the Huffington Post. Read on for more of her insight into Asian food textures...

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Mucoadhesion Rig

Mucoadhesion RIg test using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser The MUCOADHESION RIG* (A/MUC) 

Mucoadhesion is the process by which a drug delivery device is designed to stick to a part of the gut or other mucosae, thus delivering drug to a precise site in the body for an extended period.

This gives more effective treatment of some diseases and can also protect drugs from some of the harsh conditions in the body.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Cracking Egg Quality Assurance

Broken eggEggs continue to be a highly desirable and nutritious food. They can impart characteristic taste or texture to a food product, provide leavening to bakery products, retard crystallisation in foods and confectionery, and many other functions. 

Providing high quality eggs and egg products is crucial to the sustainable economic viability of the egg industry. A review of surveys conducted in the EU indicated that shell strength, albumen consistency (including height) and yolk colour (intensity of yolk pigment) are the main measures of quality important to consumers. Therefore, guaranteeing quality is essential to meeting consumer expectations. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Powder Flow Analyser

Powder Flow Analyser fitted to the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserThe POWDER FLOW ANALYSER (PFA/PL) is an accurate and reliable method of measuring the flow characteristics of powders.  

It can be rapidly fitted to a Stable Micro Systems plus series Texture Analyser, enabling manufacturers to assess and avoid typical problems such as batch and source variation of ingredients, caking during storage/transportation and problems with discharging from hoppers or bins.

The Powder Flow Analyser is supplied with library tests so operators can start testing quickly and conveniently after straightforward installation and calibration. Users can, however, fully program the instrument to carry out slicing, shearing, compressing, compacting and aerating cycles in any combination.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Pharmaceutical Product Texture Measurement and Analysis

Tablets spilling from their container The pharmaceutical industry, once among the most reliable investment areas for any portfolio, has faced increasing instability in recent years.

Both successful and aborted mergers, adverse publicity on pricing issues, cost pressures coming out of Obamacare in the US, the increase in patent expiries and the ongoing challenge of maintaining profitability in the face of ever-growing development costs have seen the industry on the back foot.

Countering this are the encouragements of new vaccines and new breakthroughs in immunotherapy which have been seen in many organisations, and the knowledge that emerging markets will continue to fuel demand.

The global pharmaceutical market is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2014 and nearly $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The market is likely to increase at an annual growth rate of 3 - 6% over the next five years, slowing at even the best estimate from the 6.2% during the past five.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Bilayer Tablet Shear Rig

Bilayer Tablet Shear Rig BILAYER TABLET SHEAR RIG* (A/BTS)

Bilayer systems typically contain an immediate-release component in one layer and the extended-release component in the other layer.

However, the development and production of quality bilayer tablets is not without issues such as layer separation. The Bilayer Tablet Shear Rig provides the means to assess this problem. 

Bilayer tablet shear graph
Measurement of shear force to separate
components of a bilayer tablet

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Unexpressed Needs Drive Food Texture Choices

Girl chewing gummy bears
It is well known that there are individual differences between people when it comes to food preference, but the reasons for these differences are largely unknown.

What is known centres primarily on flavour, while understanding and texture research lag behind.

There are several reasons for this. First, texture awareness by individuals is generally low, while flavour awareness is more top of mind. Secondly, people have a limited ability to verbalise texture characteristics.

So with that background, what have researchers missed as it applies to items we consume? What does drive human texture preferences?

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: the Dobrascycyk-Roberts Dough Inflation System

Dough Inflation System on the TA.XTplus Texture AnalyserMost dough rheological measurements are performed at rates and conditions very different from those experienced during baking. 

Conventional oscillation shear rheological tests usually operate at small strains of up to 1%, while strain in gas cell expansion during proof can be several hundred percent. Furthermore, most rheological tests are carried out in shear, whereas most large strain deformations in dough (i.e. sheeting, proofing, and baking) are extensional in nature. 

The deformation around an expanding gas cell during proof is biaxial extension – deformation in the cell wall material surrounding an expanding gas bubble. Therefore, any rheological tests on dough that seek to predict baking performance should be carried out under conditions close to baking expansion.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Cereal Product Texture Measurement and Analysis

Eating a bowl of cereal The need for convenience has been propelling the processed food industry, which includes breakfast cereals. 

Developed nations already have breakfast cereals as part of their regular course of meals, while increasing income in developing countries is giving the industry a new dimension. However, the market in developed economies tends to saturate mainly due to the desire for other traditional breakfasts, as well as some on-the-go alternatives such as cereal bars.

This is partly compensated for with growing breakfast cereals markets in Asia, as well as some Latin American countries. Some markets such as China and India offer high growth potential due to their large population; people in these countries are changing food habits and including breakfast cereals in their regular meals. 

Breakfast cereals are broadly marketed under two segments: RTE (ready-to-eat) cereals and Hot cereals – the market for RTE cereals is much larger when compared to that for Hot breakfast cereals.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Texture Analysis in Action: Leather Testing

Syringe RIg test using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser One specialist area where texture analysis has had a considerable impact is LEATHER TESTING.

Stable Micro Systems offers a range of test rigs specifically designed to enable accurate and repeatable tests on all types of leather samples. 

Our application designers have worked closely with end user companies and institutions to ensure that the equipment achieves the best possible results.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Frozen Confectionery Texture: Sorbets and Ice Lollies

Sorbet ballsSorbet originally hails from the Roman Empire – and can be thought of as a low-calorie version of ice cream.
In the absence of non-fat milk solids, it usually consists of a fruit juice, plus carbohydrates stabilised with a hydrocolloid (e.g. alginate) and emulsified with mono- or diglyceride or polysorbate 80. The carbohydrates can be chosen so as to provide a harder or softer texture as in the case of ice cream, and aeration (overrun) can be obtained as with ice cream.

Sorbet is by definition an aerated frozen dessert, typically with a pH of 2.5 to 4.0 based on water, fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate, sugar, glucose syrup or other sugar types and combinations, functional systems blends, citric acid, flavourings and colourings. Sorbet does not contain fat, but may contain emulsifier and milk solids from whey powder if a creamy type of sorbet is to be produced.