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

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Texture Analysis in Sports Nutrition – Maximising workouts with flavoured energy gels

It wasn’t long ago that runners and cyclists relied solely on water and isotonic drinks as their primary carbohydrate supplement during longer races.

Now our understanding of sports nutrition has improved to the point that we have a myriad of products to choose from, each designed to speed glycogen to the working muscles. 

Energy gels are the latest favourite source of carbohydrate for endurance events that provide energy for exercise and promote recovery. They come in small, single-serve plastic packets with a notch at the top, which can be peeled back to reveal an opening through which the gel can be quickly consumed. 

The content’s consistency is fundamental to effective delivery or extrusion to the consumer and therefore a measure of this property is key to helping manufacturers create optimum product formulations.

Consistent Delivery

The Sachet/Tube Extrusion Rig is a device which quantifies the force required to extrude the contents of tube and sachet style packaging. 

The Sachet/Tube Extrusion Rig attached
to the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser       
Designed for use with the TA.XTplus texture analyser, the innovative attachment allows manufacturers to gauge the ease of removal and application of products such as these nutritional/sports 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. The higher the force recorded during this test (see graph below), the more difficulty a consumer would experience in squeezing out the required amount.

A large selection of products are produced in sachet or tube portions for quick and convenient use, as well as the facilitation of long-term storage. Removal of the contents relies on the consumer’s ability to squeeze the packaging, and on the consistency of the product, assuming the aperture of the tube/sachet remains constant. 

Typical Exponent curve of a gel sachet test
showing irregularities in extrusion force
By testing the force required to extrude the contents of a sachet or tube at regular intervals over a long period of time, product developers can analyse changes in a product’s consistency throughout its shelf-life and adapt formulations accordingly. The rig also enables manufacturers to assess the suitability of packaging material and its construction.

Request our article Texture Analysis in Sports Nutrition which looks at developments in testing for this growing product sector.

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 texture analysis Replicating Consumer Preferences
 Texture Analysis applications

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