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

Wednesday 4 October 2017

The Desire to Chew

There’s more to chewing than you might think. It’s arguably the first digestive activity that we bring to a meal, and unlike the chemical processes that occur in our gut, chewing falls under our conscious control. 

But chewing is more than a digestive aid. It also has a potent psychological function that helps keep body, mind and emotions in balance, according to The Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Consider the following: Have you ever wondered why crunchy foods are so popular, why advertisers promote products on the basis of crunchiness – “super crunchy,” “extra crunchy,” “stays crunchy even in milk”? Have you noticed that whenever you eat your favorite brand of potato chips, pretzels, or crackers, they each have a similar degree of crunchiness? What advertisers understand and capitalise on is that crunching and chewing are primal activities, inborn urges dating back to the first life-forms that ever “crunched” on each other.
In his book, Food Texture and Viscosity, Concept and Measurement, Malcolm Bourne of Cornell University uses beef as an example of the vast economic implications of food’s textural quality. The tougher the cut, the cheaper it is – despite the priciest, unblemished fillet steak lacking the flavour of fattier cuts on the bone. 

Bourne says the three most relished texture notes are crispy, creamy and chewy. And food with more bite has become more popular in recent decades, he says, because dental health improvements have meant that many people keep their own teeth for most of their lives.

We have, writes Bourne in his book, a “deeply ingrained need to chew”. It starts in babyhood and continues right through to old age when, if we can afford it, we’ll throw cash and inconvenience at fixing our teeth so we may continue to chew, even though we could just as well get our nutrition from soft or puréed foods. 

Gnawing is a satisfying business. It’s good for you, too. A growing body of research indicates that it increases blood flow to the brain, which helps stave off dementia. A large Swedish study last year found that old people who could chew hard foods, such as apples, had a considerably lower risk of failing mental faculties.

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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