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

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Employing Texture Analysis in your Sports Nutrition Products

Sports Nutrition has undergone an incredible decade of development and growth exceeding double percentage digits. 

Nutritional bars are the fastest-growing market, but there has been a widening of the sports and nutrition category. Consumers in this category have changed from mostly hard-core athletes, to include more mainstream health-focused consumers who represent the major growth drivers for this global market. Developed regions such as the United States and some European countries have been the dominant market players, but the demand in developing countries is expected to increase with the current growing interest for health-related products. 

Consumers of sports nutrition products now represent all ages and backgrounds who are increasingly seeking out products that can help them maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle.  Besides focusing on their well-being; this group is also interested in specific diets, sustainability, natural ingredients and so on. Health, free-from, natural/organic and special diets are categories that are receiving much attention and there are opportunities to create exciting products with science-based ingredients that fit in these niches. 

The bright spot in Sports Nutrition continues to be the addition of (whey) protein, which remains the flawless macro-nutrient.  High protein products (powders, bars and ready-to-drink beverages) are the most popular products in the category.  Traditionally, sports nutrition brands focus on nutrition for (sub)-athletes and amateurs focusing on muscle growth and sports performance but the industry still has a strong focus on the addition of (whey) protein to grow muscle mass. Mainstream consumers, however, increasingly see sporting and fitness as a part of their healthy lifestyle. Their goal is to have a good time in the gym, eat healthily and simply increase their basic body health with the addition of nutritional supplements.

This growing target group should not be neglected by the sports nutrition industry. The range of consumption moments and differing nutritional requirements lead to different requirements for the products they consume – and a host of development and formulation opportunities for manufacturers of these products. Physical properties and the sensory characteristics of foodstuffs – appearance, flavour and texture – are very important to the consumer. They are crucial to each individual’s preferences for specific products, while attributes such as chewiness, crispness and mouthfeel have considerable impact on consumer brand loyalty.  

Quantifiable texture analysis of newly-emerging sports nutrition products is an evolving area of quality assurance that has yet to reach its full potential. Such a measure, employed across a range of food and drink products and packaging, can provide manufacturers with the peace of mind that their products consistently meet consumer expectations and are consistently functional, practical and appealing. From energy bar firmness to supplement capsule rupture and even the effectiveness of energy gel packaging, changeable raw materials and sensitivity to handling mean more risk of batch to batch variations. With the consumer in mind, these issues must be monitored and measured strictly, so that only the best quality products end up on supermarket shelves.

Instrumental texture analysis is an essential objective tool for the identification, measurement and control of the desired textural features of any new or existing product for the market. Offering a broad range of repeatable, objective analyses of product quality and texture, Stable Micro Systems allows manufacturers to scrutinise the production process from stage to stage and produce optimal, consistent results. Texture analysis is one quality assurance method that can spell the difference between a product’s success and failure and can identify any potential problems in advance, minimising the risk of waste and financial loss. In such an advancing competitive market, textural perfection is certainly worth striving for.

For a summary of effective texture analysis testing for a fast-growing market using a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser, watch this video...

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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