Case Studies – Food Products


ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS  •  BAKERY  •  CONFECTIONERY  •  DAIRY  •  FRUIT & VEGETABLES  •  MEAT  •  PASTA & RICE  •  SNACKS


How Ingredion bring innovation and consistency to the food industry

textural quality of cheese on pizza

Ingredion are a global ingredients solutions company leading the way in food research and innovation, helping their customers develop and bring new products to market.

The challenge

Ingredion needed a way of measuring products at different stages of production to ensure integrity and consistency of products in development. “As food is biological, there is always a level of variation that simply has to be accepted. This applies both to end product and raw ingredients,” says Food Technology Corporation Operations Manager Drew Lambert.

The research

Stable Micro Systems Texture Analysers were used at intervals to assess texture. “Processors are constantly tweaking their process controls to maintain some level of control. The ability to measure texture is just part of this. Gone are the days when making decisions on processing or quality is based on the opinion of a few people. While traditional sensory is still very important, it is now backed up with data points that are more objective.”

The outcome

With the use of a Texture Analyser to quantify texture during product development, Ingredion are able to understand texture preference and the trends that may result in consumer behaviour to remain agile before a consumer shift occurs, keeping them – and their customers – at the fore of food innovation.

Watch Ingredion’s series Let’s talk texture on Vimeo


ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS


DuPont: Whipping up innovation in the plant-based industry

Whipping cream

DuPont are an innovative science and engineering company active in the ingredients and solutions sectors acting to make the world a safer, healthier, and better place to live.

The challenge

The market for vegetable whipping cream, also commonly known as imitation cream or non-dairy cream, is increasing especially due to the vast variety of applications of the product. There are very low seasonal variations in the final product compared to those of dairy whipping cream and this is a benefit in many applications. The significantly lower manufacturing costs relative to those involved in the manufacture of dairy whipping cream make the product increasingly popular.

The research

Stable Micro Systems Texture Analysers were used to measure the firmness of cream samples.

The outcome

DuPont were able to formulate a stabilised plant-based whipping cream with the use of their Texture Analyser. Their patent entitled ‘Stabilised Vegetable Whipping Cream’ presents an efficient whipping agent additive along with uses for stabilising protein-free vegetable whipping creams and whipped food products such as vegetable whipped cream based on this whipping agent.


Investigation of plant-based proteins by Ingredion

Plant based ice cream

Ingredion is a leading global ingredients solutions company. They make sweeteners, starches, nutrition ingredients and biomaterials that are used by customers in everyday products from foods and beverages to paper and pharmaceuticals. They turn grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant materials into ingredients that make crackers crunchy, candy sweet, yogurt creamy, lotions and creams silky, plastics biodegradable and tissues softer and stronger. Their innovative ingredient solutions help customers stay on trend with simple ingredients and gluten-free or high-fibre foods that appeal to today's consumers.

The challenge

The development of alternative proteins is a worldwide drive pushed by the consumer market. Ingredion play a large part in this work, attempting to perfect the textural properties of plant-based products.

The research

Fava beans are a relatively high protein and low fat food source making them an attractive substitute for proteins from animals and nuts. In a patent filed by Ingredion, a heat moisture treated fava bean protein concentrate and its use in foodstuffs is described. They used their TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to measure the spread texture of samples with a Spreadability Rig. The fava bean protein concentrate may be used in emulsions, confectionery spreads and ice cream.

The outcome

Ingredion successfully developed a substitute for proteins from animals and nuts.


Impossible Foods – Plant-based beef

Blade set test on alternative protein burger

Impossible Foods is a company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products. The company's stated aim is to give people the taste and nutritional benefits of meat without the negative health and environmental impacts associated with livestock products.

The challenge

Product texture presents a particular challenge – nothing feels quite like ground beef.

The research

Biochemist Patrick O. Brown, founder of Impossible Foods Inc., invented a “magic ingredient” that solves what he calls the planet’s biggest environmental problem: beef. The ingredient, made from soybean roots and genetically engineered yeast, goes into vegetarian Impossible Burgers, which are available in a growing number of restaurants in the USA. With the use of their Stable Micro Systems Texture Analyser, they have performed a series of Texture Analysis tests including cutting tests on their burger patties.

The outcome

Impossible Foods have identified what particular protein properties are in real meat, and they’ve gone to look for plants with plant proteins that have those same properties. What they’ve landed on is a surprising mix. Ingredients include wheat protein, to give the burger that firmness and chew. And potato protein, which allows the burger to hold water and transition from a softer state to a more solid state during cooking. For fat, Impossible Foods uses coconut with the flavour sucked out. Find out more


BAKERY


Gold standard bakery from QUALISOY

Spreadability test using a texture analyser

QUALISOY is an independent, third-party collaboration that promotes the development of and builds the market for the latest soybean traits. QUALISOY partners with the entire U.S. soy value chain, from seed companies to food manufacturers and animal feed producers, to create trait-enhanced soybean oils and meal that offer desirable traits, such as improved nutrition and functionality.

The challenge

QUALISOY have been aiming to develop new functionality tests confirm that U.S.-grown high oleic soybean oil produces superior baker’s margarines and shortenings for pie crusts and laminated dough applications.

The research

They used their Stable Micro Systems Texture Analyser to perform Texture Analysis tests including penetration of finished products. With these testing capabilities they were able to take qualitative information and turn it into concrete raw data to prove whether a new shortening does match a previous shortening.

The outcome

“The results were nothing short of amazing,” said Roger Daniels, VP of Research, Development & Innovation at Stratas Foods. “We found that we achieved a new gold standard in performance without partial hydrogenation.” For pie crusts, the new shortening produces a dough that is firm enough to stand up to the machine but also gentle enough that it eats well.


Bread Quality Measurement from Campden BRI

Bread firmness test using a cylinder probe

Campden BRI strive to help food and drink businesses succeed through science, technology and information services.

The challenge

Differences between individual loaves, their structure and physical characteristics, are clear to consumers and particularly to expert bakers. However, one of the areas that Campden BRI has worked on has been developing objective methods of characterising bread structure. An important element is the overall softness of bread.

The research

Campden BRI used their TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to perform an objective technique called Texture Profile Analysis is used to characterise the softness. In addition, it also gives them information about the resilience of a particular loaf. That is always important in relation to the butter-ability of a particular slice of bread.

The outcome

Their method allowed for all the information in relation to softness and resilience to be derived from two compressions of a slice of bread. Watch this video of how they use their Texture Analyser to characterise bread quality.


How to measure the crunch of biscuits with Bahlsen

Acoustic cutting test on biscuit bar

Bahlsen is a 125 year old family business specialising in beautifully crafted sweet biscuits, sold globally.

The challenge

Bahlsen aimed to measure the crunchiness property of biscuits using the approach of acoustic measurement.

The research

Bahlsen had massive media interest in Germany after it used the Acoustic Envelope Detector by Stable Micro Systems to analyse the ‘crunch’ of its biscuits. This was used for quality control, as customers perceive a fresher biscuit when there is a louder crunch. The AED was used in conjunction with the company’s TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to quickly and easily analyse acoustic emissions and quantify product texture. A highly sensitive directional microphone acquires the acoustic data while the Texture Analyser itself measures force, distance and time as the biscuit breaks.

The outcome

The procedure gave Bahlsen the confidence that the sounds emitted by its products could maximise consumer appeal. Ralf Winopal from Winopal Forschungsbedarf GmbH, Stable Micro Systems’ distributor in Germany, said: “Texture Analysis has become essential for product development and quality control. The media interest in Bahlsen and the Acoustic Envelope Detector shows that everyone, from scientists and technologists to the general public, can get excited by it.”


Zeelandia’s bread roll crustiness measurements

Acoustic bread V-squeeze test

Zeelandia is a leading supplier of bakery ingredients around the world.

The challenge

Crustiness, the presence of a crisp shell and soft centre, is an important sensory property to consumers for many types of bakery product, including bread rolls. Zeelandia needed to develop a method to test this property.

The research

By combining the Texture Analyser’s ‘V’ squeeze test with simultaneous acoustic measurements, Zeelandia pioneered a new method to determine the crustiness of bakery products to obtain detailed objective analysis of crust breakage.

The outcome

The measurement worked well to measure crustiness in a sensitive way. Henk Mulder, physical scientist at Zeelandia, commented, “Stable Micro Systems’ equipment is extremely accurate and versatile. Manual tests, and even our previous lab testing methods, didn’t give us enough detail to draw meaningful conclusions for our NPD or quality control purposes. The ‘V’ Squeeze test measures valuable parameters, but recording sound using the Acoustic Envelope Detector provides far more detailed results that can be used in new product development and for competitor analysis and QC purposes”. Coen Sander, Zeelandia’s food scientist, added, “Perfecting texture in crusty products is particularly challenging because despite the crunchy crust, we’re often also seeking a soft centre – all with maximum shelf life. We’re now testing a wide range of finished baked products containing different Zeelandia ingredients in varying proportions. Collating and comparing these detailed test results means we can evaluate the impact of changes to recipes and processing conditions.”


Warburtons solution to a sticky problem

Sticky dough problem

Warburtons is a leading UK-based bakery business specialising in bread products.

The challenge

Sticky dough is problematic in bakeries, causing progressive build-up of dough smears on equipment, necessitating extra cleaning and leading to waste and unplanned stoppages. Previous test methods for quantifying dough stickiness required manipulation of the dough sample immediately prior to testing. This, along with exposure to drier atmospheres common in QC labs, introduced rheological changes which reduce stickiness, distorting test results. Warburtons strove to find a solution to this problem.

The research

Teaming up with Stable Micro Systems, Warburtons came up with a solution – the “Dough Stickiness System” – that mimicked actions performed in commercial bakeries, with a blade coming down into a sample in a sealed box under the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to give firmness information during the compression and stickiness information under tension.

The outcome

The rig continues to be a success today, used by Warburtons and many other companies around the world.


Puratos: How to perfect the science of freshness

Puratos Cake Freshness Lab

The Puratos Cake Testing Lab helps the baking industry deliver the world’s freshest cake solutions to help increase consumer satisfaction and profitability.

The challenge

Puratos aimed to develop a method to measure the freshness of cake.

The research

As users of Stable Micro Systems Texture Analysers, these experts are able to provide the ideas and innovations that are guiding new developments in cakes everywhere. They regularly feature their Texture Analysers to articulate their product attributes while marketing their modular improver to enhance shortness of bite and chewability in soft bakery products. According to their research: “Short bite is the opposite of chewiness. It reflects the ease to tear or break off a piece of bread as well as the ease of chewing. Consumers expect a short bite particularly in sweet bakery products and filled snacks.”

The outcome

Puratos have successfully developed a series of tests that allow them to measure bakery freshness. Find out more about how Puratos uses texture analysis


The accurate assessment of flour performance with ADM Milling

Kieffer Dough and Gluten Extensibility Rig on the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser

As the UK’s leading independent flour miller, ADM Milling Ltd. offers a wide range of high quality flours and bakery ingredients to all sectors of the UK baking and food industry. Their range includes white, wholemeal, cake and speciality flours, bakery mixes and concentrates, improvers and complementary products.

The challenge

ADM Milling require accurate measurement data on the performance of their flours in three key areas; dough extensibility, bread firmness and pasta texture.

The research

ADM Milling use the TA.XTplus to benefit from the flexibility to design tests which investigate specific parameters of interest, as well as improved data processing. Their Texture Analysers not only fulfil these requirements but also deliver the added benefit of allowing the company to develop its own unique test procedures. As an example, the Kieffer Dough and Gluten Extensibility Rig is used for all-important determination of the rise qualities and structure of finished dough products, measuring the dough’s resistance to extension and extensibility. They can reveal that different varieties of wheat have a markedly different effect on dough extension properties.

The outcome

Using the TA.XTplus allows ADM Milling to determine which kinds of wheat are best suited for different types of flour and, therefore, different end-products. For example, a bread-making dough requires a great deal of extensibility, whereas this would be a negative attribute for biscuits. As well as dough extensibility, the firmness of their bread and texture of their pasta are put to the test using recovery and compression tests with expert help from Exponent software.



CONFECTIONERY


Mondelez and their search for the perfect Easter egg

Three point bend test on a chocolate bar

Mondelez are one of the largest snack companies in the world. They make and sell primarily snacks, including biscuits (cookies, crackers and salted snacks), chocolate, gum and candy as well as various cheese and grocery and powdered beverage products.

The challenge

Mondelez-owned company Cadbury has been making Easter eggs since 1875 – an expensive process at the time, making fragile dark chocolate shells – but has to maintain its share of "Easter innovation". The search for innovation includes important textural tests on samples.

The research

In the lab, eggs are subjected to a machine that pushes a vertical probe down into the outer shell, measuring how much force is needed to crack through it. Bogdan Dobraszczyk, senior scientist, explains they use a Stable Micro Systems Texture Analyser to assess not just hardness and softness of Easter eggs, but the vital crispiness of biscuits: "It measures texture, hardness, crispness, key attributes especially for snack products like biscuits. It's about trying to put some numbers on it – measuring the force".

The outcome

Mondelez continue to perform a large amount of Texture Analysis in their Research and Development process in the hunt for perfect products. Read more


Controlling chewing gum texture with Mars Wrigley

Chewing gum strip

Mars Wrigley is the world's leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints and fruity confections.

The challenge

Chewing gum is a tactile product that relies on its stretchy, chewy texture. In addition to new product development and troubleshooting, the effects of formulation changes on chewing gum texture can be assessed.

The research

Wrigley have been using their TA.XTplus for quality control in a range of products for decades now. Innovative attachments, including forward and back extrusion cells, craft knife blades and tensile grips, are put into action to assess characteristics such as hardness, stickiness and stringiness.

The outcome

Wrigley’s suite of texture analysis tests continues to keep them in a world-leading position in the chewing gum market.


Itaconix and their chewing gum innovation

Chewing gum

Over the past two centuries, gum manufacturers have embraced materials science to produce a product that has a wide variety of benefits, from cavity protection to enhanced mental concentration. However, this treat is also polluting streets, sidewalks, and buildings around the world.

The challenge

Chewing gum is a tactile product that relies on its stretchy, chewy texture. In addition to new product development and troubleshooting, the effects of formulation changes on chewing gum texture can be assessed.

The research

In an effort to solve this problem, engineers at Itaconix (formally Revolymer) have employed amphiphilic polymers to develop a "low-adhesion" chewing gum that can be easily removed from surfaces, offering a more environmentally-friendly product. This innovative technology can help save millions of dollars in clean-up costs and be applied to other markets, including personal care products, paints, and coatings. Watch this video to see how Itaconix test their innovative chewing gum for stickiness using their Texture Analyser.

The outcome

The use of Texture Analysis allowed Itaconix to successfully formulate a ‘clean’ chewing gum.


Investigating chocolate adhesion with the University of Leeds and Nestlé Product Technology Centre

Chocolate squares

The research carried out at the University of Leeds’ School of Food Science and Nutrition tackles major and emerging problems in food science and nutrition. They are recognised as world-leaders in food colloids and diet and health. They apply fundamental scientific principles to address issues of food quality, safety and sustainability, diet quality and consumer behaviour, from food production to the consumer’s plate.

The Nestlé Product Technology Centre (NPTC) in York is Nestlé’s centre of excellence for chocolate, sugar confectionery and biscuits focusing on lighter eating, luxury gifting and popularly positioned products. The NPTC York is responsible for developing new technologies and innovative products, as well as providing help and technical assistance to Nestlé operating companies around the world.

The challenge

For quality control purposes and hence customer satisfaction it is increasingly important to apply the right processing conditions and controlling parameters, such as the time, the temperature, the moisture content and the relative humidity of the surrounding air. In a paper published by these researchers, work was carried out to investigate the influences of these factors during the cooling stage of the chocolate manufacturing process to assess the ease of demoulding.

The research

Experimental determination of chocolate adhesion to a mould was performed using their Texture Analyser and a fixture specifically developed for this work, in which the stickiness was measured of a polycarbonate probe to a solidified chocolate sample to imitate the demoulding process.

The outcome

The results demonstrated that processing parameters like temperature, contact time and the relative humidity of the surrounding environment had a significant impact on chocolate crystallisation and solidification processes and on the adhesion of chocolate to a mould surface. A Peltier Controlled Cabinet made it feasible to have a controlled experimental temperature range between 0° and 50°C.The hardness of the solidified chocolate samples was also measured to determine the effect of different processing conditions on the chocolate using a stainless steel cylinder probe.


Cargill and their search for confectionery crunchiness measurement

Cargill laboratory

Cargill bring food, agricultural, financial and industrial products to people who need them all around the world.

The challenge

Quantifying the factors that affect customers’ satisfaction of chewing gum can be a difficult problem to solve.

The research

Bart Cortebeeck of Cargill developed a new classification of crunchiness levels based on mechanic principles that could be monitored by a new Texture Analyser-based measuring method. These parameters – coating time, crunchiness and stability – give the opportunity to benchmark ingredient performance and match them to the desired properties of an end product.

The outcome

"Consumers like to hear and feel a 'crunch' when they bite into coated confectionery products", explained Bart. "The crunch is a combination of auditory and tactile sensation. In that sense, crunchiness is different from hardness. Hardness is a purely physical characteristic of the product as the product is bitten into, whereas crunchiness is related to brittleness. Typically, the harder and more brittle a coating, the crunchier. "The machine's results make it easier and more accurate to compare the performance of coating formulations obtained with different ingredients", continued Bart. "We succeeded in getting repetitive results, proving the reliability of this method across a range of applications. For manufacturers, accurate texture testing offers genuine benefits. "Whether customers are focusing on a shorter coating time, higher product stability, or marked bulk and texture, we can use this method to devise the ideal blends of sweeteners and polyols to achieve the desired effects, with an accuracy never dreamed before".

Find out more about how Cargill uses texture analysis


DAIRY


The Measurement of dairy texture with Cargill Texturizing Solutions

Eating yoghurt

Cargill’s Custom Texturizing Systems are a worry-free, tailor-made, optimised product formulation solution for food and beverage manufacturers, backed by technical industry experts. Cargill’s custom ingredient solutions solve formulation challenges and/or replace ingredients to produce a label-friendly product. These high-quality innovative solutions help manage risk and control costs.

The challenge

For Brian Surratt of Cargill Texturizing Solutions, there’s no such thing as a carefree day in the kitchen. If he’s whipping up a homemade take on a dairy standard, like a frozen dessert, flan or pudding, don’t expect him just to kick back and enjoy once it’s ready. “Now you’ve got to compare it to your favourite branded version,” says Surratt, a senior scientist in dairy applications for Cargill Texturizing Solutions, Wayzata, Minn. “Is it different? How would you characterise that difference? What would you change to make homemade resemble store-bought, or vice versa? Which do you prefer, and why? Welcome to my world!”

The research

In that world, product texture comes into unusually sharp focus, and for good reason. “I’ve become fixated on being able to detect minute changes in textures when formulating new or reformulating existing dairy products,” Surratt says. “So, personally speaking, I’ve given texture vast amounts of attention because it’s my job.” And that is when Stable Micro Systems’ Texture Analysers are so helpful.

The outcome

Cargill continue to use Texture Analysis as an instrinsic Research and Development tool.


FRUIT AND VEGETABLES


Measuring texture at the watermelon harvest: Cyprus Agricultural Research Institute

Melon testing

The vision of the Agricultural Research Institute is to be a model centre of knowledge and innovation, and lead Cyprus to a better future by strengthening rural development, improving the quality of life, and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources.

The challenge

The Agricultural Research Institute needed a rapid method to test watermelon texture in the field.

The research

They installed a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser just in time for the harvest of watermelons for this important trial. Stable Micro Systems were very happy to be able to assist and train the new user ‘on the job’. Texture Analysis was one of several methods used to assess melons of different varieties, root stocks and post-harvest storage times. A method was developed to accurately quantify the flesh firmness using the Multiple Puncture Probe. The central pins were removed so as to avoid the hard core which gave a misrepresentative result. The outer ring of pins was ideally located as they punctured the heart of the melon yet avoided the seeds. Sample preparation involved cutting the melon in half and removing the blossom end with a sharp knife to provide extra stability. The melon was presented to the Texture Analyser and levelled, if necessary, to ensure a flat testing surface. The penetration test was commenced. The area under the curve was taken as the flesh firmness..

The outcome

Texture Analysis was successfully performed. The melon was then passed to the next station for further destructive analysis including sugar content, colour evaluation and lycopene content.


Grape crunchiness measurement at the University of Torino

Red grapes

The University of Turin Department of Agricultural, Forestry and Food Science (DISAFA) is the Department that manage the school of Agriculture and Agrifood sciences. Over 250 people work in the department that is among the top two agricultural engineering research centres in Italy. The department hold the best wine making school in Italy, with students coming from all over Europe.

The challenge

The department were looking to assess the influence of the developmental changes on the texture properties of the grape seed to provide useful indicators of maturity.

The research

The scientists consequently published an extremely interesting book chapter and several academic papers entitled: 'Changes in Physical and Mechanical Properties of Dehydrating Berries'.

The outcome

This research highlighted the parameters that a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser and Acoustic Envelope Detector can provide, as predictors of consumer acceptability of wine grapes.


Fruit quality improvement using texture analysis at AGRANA Fruit

Eating an apple

AGRANA Fruit (formally Sias) transform fruit and other agricultural raw materials into high quality products for customers around the world. AGRANA's Fruit segment is organizationally divided into two divisions: the fruit preparations business in form of AGRANA Fruit and the fruit juice concentrates business in form of AUSTRIA JUICE.

The challenge

AGRANA Fruit were looking for a Texture Analysis method for fruit products that would effectively test finished products but also be applicable to new product development. For example, having identified the ideal consistency for an apple puree, it is possible to develop a blackcurrant product with a similar viscosity and mouthfeel.

The research

Steven Smallwood, AGRANA Fruit NPD Manager, comments: "Each year, different fruits come into fashion and we could find ourselves handling fruits we haven't processed before. Using Texture Analysis enables us to quickly assess how a new fruit will process, and adjust equipment or procedures accordingly, without wasting time or money." Because Texture Analysis is so flexible, it can be used throughout the food industry to test ingredients as well as finished products. Stable Micro Systems stresses that it should not be viewed as a substitute for human taste testing, but as a complement to it. As Hido Malic, Sias quality and development manager, commented: "Installing the Texture Analyser was a simple way of upgrading our quality control procedures. Organoleptic testing remains very important, but the Texture Analyser is now an integral part of the process. Our customers can be confident of consistently high quality, and that obviously brings great benefits to the business".

The outcome

Texture Analysis has brought tangible benefits to AGRANA Fruit and other major European food processors by improving quality, reducing rejected product and saving time.


AACCI Approved Methods Technical Committee: Standard method development for cooked pulse firmness measurement

AACCI approved cooked pulses test rig

The Cereals and Grains Association (formerly AACC International) is a global, non-profit association of nearly 2,000 scientists and food industry professionals working to advance the understanding and knowledge of cereal grain science and its product development applications through research, leadership, education, technical service, and advocacy.

The challenge

A high standard of cooking is critical for pulses – peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans – because, in a variety of common uses, cooking is required to ensure that they have an acceptable sensory quality. Texture/firmness is one of the most important quality factors influencing consumer acceptance of cooked pulses, and its evaluation is critical to the assessment of cooking quality. There are several methods available for its measurement, both subjective and objective, but until recently none had been universally accepted.

The research

Members of the AACCI Approved Methods Technical Committee announced a standard method (56-36.01) developed for the determination of the firmness of cooked pulses. A collaborative trial, based on ten laboratories’ analysis of 26 blind duplicates of thirteen different samples, was run to evaluate the repeatability and reproducibility of the method. After cooking according to the standard preparation procedure the firmness of pulse samples is determined using a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser loading approximately 7.5g of cooked sample into a Mini Kramer Shear Cell, compressing and extruding the sample.

The outcome

This is now a recognised standard method, widely-used in the cereals and grains industry.


MEAT AND FISH


The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board: Measuring meat quality by shear force

Blade test on meat sample

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain to help the industry succeed in a rapidly changing world. We want to create a world-class food and farming industry, inspired by and competing with the best.

The challenge

With tenderness being one of the important characteristics contributing to perceived meat quality, it is important to know how it is measured. By understanding the objective measure of tenderness, it can enable improvements and better utilisation of carcasses, reducing waste and enhancing overall eating experience.

The research

Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board experts have revealed that, using their TA.XTplus Texture Analyser that mimics the human jaw, they have shown that cuts of muscle previously used for slow cooking are tender enough to be sold as fast cooking steaks. As part of its work to increase carcass value, AHDB experts used their Texture Analyser to measure the force needed to ‘bite’ through a small sample of meat. They found that meat from muscle groups often sold as slow cook, such as chuck, are suitable for quick cook thin steaks – thus increasing their value. Early tests indicate industry could reap more than £5.2 million creating thin cut steaks from chuck and £2.5 million from the leg of mutton cut (LMC). AHDB Beef & Lamb has also identified thin cut steaks as a new means to get consumers to eat more beef. Mike Whittemore, Head of Trade and Product Development at AHDB, said: “British pride lies in the quality of the beef that’s produced. The ‘bite test’ uses shear force to measure tenderness, meaning that retailers could quantify quality and charge accordingly. It also helps to ensure consistency and boost consumer confidence in beef steak.” The human jaw is so sensitive it can detect a change in tenderness of just 0.5kgs.

The outcome

AHDB Beef & Lamb have produced a short video discussing how to carry out a test of tenderness using Shear Force on their TA.XTplus Texture Analyser. Watch the video and see more detail in the original article in New Food Magazine.


The University of St Andrews – Measuring the firmness and texture of fresh fish

Warner Bratzler blade tes on salmon

At the Fish Behaviour and Biodiversity Research Group at the University of St Andrews, the primary aim of their current research is to link behaviour and evolution, asking on the one hand how adaptive behaviour evolves and on the other how behaviour shapes the course of evolution. They are also concerned with the conservation of fish biodiversity and are examining the role of behaviour in the survival of endangered populations. Much of the work is based in the neotropics, particularly Trinidad, Mexico and Brasil, though they also have projects in the UK.

The challenge

This research group carried out an independent study to investigate the firmness and texture in salmon fillets.

The research

The study, published in the Journal of Food Science, has recognised the superior performance of Stable Micro Systems’ Warner-Bratzler shear blade on the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser in assessing firmness and texture in salmon fillets. The blade, which is used to assess the cutting force, or ‘bite’ of fresh fish, was the most sensitive method tested and yielded the most consistently accurate and repeatable data. This assists manufacturers looking to implement reliable, accurate and tested quality control procedures. The study aimed to establish the most suitable methods of detecting firmness in salmon fillets and predicting post-cold smoking texture. Researchers compared a new tensile strength test with various established analysis methods.

The outcome

While the Warner-Bratzler shear blade was found to be the most effective method of measuring firmness and predicting post-smoking texture, the new tensile test provided the highest levels of accuracy when predicting post-mortem gaping (the appearance of tears or slits within the fillet on handling). The test, which used the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to pull samples apart while measuring the force required to do so, is a valuable addition to the existing pool of instrumental methods for fish flesh quality assessment. Dr Ian Johnston, Fish Muscle Research Group, commented: “The results of our study will enable manufacturers to confidently undertake precise, consistent quality control.”

Watch this video to see how they use their Texture Analyser to measure fish firmness.


Heston Blumenthal perfects the crispness of fried fish

Fish and chips

Heston Blumenthal is a British celebrity chef, TV personality and food writer. Blumenthal is regarded as a pioneer of multi-sensory cooking, food pairing and flavour encapsulation. He came to public attention with unusual recipes, such as bacon and egg ice cream, and snail porridge.

The challenge

In his prime-time series, “In Search of Perfection”, chef and molecular gastronomist, Heston Blumenthal, turned to Texture Analysis to help him perfect classic dishes.

The research

With the help of food physicist, Dr. Malcolm Povey, and Stable Micro Systems’ TA.XTPlus Texture Analyser, the popular BBC show saw Blumenthal combining science and cookery to create the perfect crispy fish batter. After struggling to produce the ultimate batter – one that hardens on the outside while steaming the fish gently from within – Blumenthal visits Malcolm Povey, Professor of Food Physics at Leeds University. Well-known for his extensive work in food science, Povey pioneered Stable Micro Systems’ Acoustic Envelope Detector, which measures the bursts of sound generated when food is bitten or snapped. Utilising this revolutionary instrument along with a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser and ball probe, Povey and Blumenthal tested batter to identify what constitutes the ideal crispness. According to the sound pulses measured, the results showed that the more bubbles there are in batter, the crispier, and more appealing it will be.

The outcome

Blumenthal’s work with Povey was testament to the wide scope of Texture Analysis. Providing essential data on the texture of foods, it proves to be an invaluable tool in many sectors, enabling scientists, food manufacturers and chefs alike to create perfect foods time after time.


Perfecting texture in the surimi industry

Surimi sticks

Surimi is a paste made from fish or meat. It is available in many shapes, forms, and textures, and is often used to mimic the texture and colour of the flesh of a particular fish or meat.

The challenge

The texture of surimi is its most important sensory property, and so Texture Analysis is widely-used in the surimi industry. One important challenge associated with surimi development is the imitation of texture; for example, lobster surimi must have a texture similar to that of real lobster meat.

The research

The “punch” or penetration test, although considered an empirical test, is the single most popular gel measurement technique used in the surimi industry for evaluating “gel strength” or stiffness. The test imitates the large deformations to failure involved in mastication. Many studies have been reported that correlate puncture or penetration methods with the sensory properties of surimi gels. This attribute of the test, coupled with its convenience, has made it popular for quality control within the surimi industry. In his book “Surimi and Surimi Seafood”, surimi expert Jae Park describes how, along with the U.S Surimi leaders, he evaluated 12 samples of surimi gels with a wide range of quality using five units of conventional rheometer or rheotex and 2 units of TA.XTplus Texture Analyser.

The outcome

“Soft gels could not be measured using any of the five conventional units, while two units of TA.XTplus were able to detect the gel values. Indeed, the accuracy of the measurement, based on the standard deviations, was much higher with the TA.XTplus instrument. This accuracy is likely to be due to the ability to calibrate the instrument as needed.”


The University of Arkansas and their search for Poultry Tenderness Measurement

MORS blade test on chicken

Advancing Poultry Science through research and education: The Department of Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas is helping to meet a global industry need for top quality nutritionists, technicians, managers and marketers.

The challenge

Poultry tenderness is an attribute critical to customer acceptance, which was historically assessed using costly and time-consuming sensory evaluation. The challenge faced by these researchers was to perform this type of test using a Texture Analyser.

The research

The researchers used their Texture Analyser to develop a quick, accurate and simple destructive tool for measuring poultry tenderness, the Meullenet-Owens Razor Shear Blade. Because the blade is narrow and penetrates to only 20mm, the MORS test makes only a small incision into the sample, causing far less damage to it than traditional instrumental or human cutting tests. Repeatability is also optimised because the blade can be removed and replaced regularly – or even after every test – to ensure edge sharpness. Trials of the blade show it can perform 60 measurements per hour – double the number that can be achieved with an Allo-Kramer shear test, one of the better-known instrumental poultry testing methods.

The outcome

The use of the MORS blade eliminates the problem of sample dimension influence on results compared to older techniques. The new system claims to exhibit a higher correlation with human sensory test results while testing just as reliably as, but faster than, other instrumental methods.


PASTA AND RICE


Standard test methods in the rice industry

Rice Extrusion Rig

Textural quality of cooked rice is of high importance in the rice industry, enabling manufacturers to fine tune processing methods and cultivars for the perfect product, satisfying both their own textural requirements and the demands of customers and consumers.

The challenge

Traditional tests on rice samples tended to be lengthy, labour-intensive, difficult sensory tests. The Texture Analyser was used to develop a standard test method to reduce the need for these sensory tests.

The research

Alongside the release of a new International Standard (ISO 11747) for rice testing, Stable Micro Systems developed a Rice Extrusion Rig that conforms with the standard testing specifications. Growers, processors and food manufacturers can use it to objectively and accurately analyse the resistance to extrusion of rice samples.

The outcome

Whilst the Rice Extrusion Rig provides a simple, quick, accurate and economical method for measuring the eating qualities of rice, it includes additional design features specifically focused on making the testing cell more quickly removable and replaceable between tests. This standard is the outcome of inter-laboratory testing organised in 2010 by UNI involving nine international laboratories and was prepared by the ISO/TC34 Technical Committee for Cereals and Pulses.


How to assess noodles and rice texture

Chewing gum strip

With thanks to the Wheat Marketing Center you can see how the AACC Noodle firmness method is performed. Watch this video


SNACKS


Crunchiness measurement at the University of Leeds

Snapping a biscuit

The Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI) at the University of Leeds is an interdisciplinary research community, which brings together members from across academia, industry and public policy.

The challenge

Sound is an important sensory property when providing feedback to a consumer eating a crunchy food. Researchers are interested in measuring this property in a reliable, repeatable way.

The research

Using the Acoustic Envelope Detector from Stable Micro Systems, some simple software and an enviable supply of different biscuits, Professor Povey at the University of Leeds realised that the energy produced by the very first crack of a biscuit breaking is released as distinct pulses of ultrasound. Povey was convinced that the same measuring techniques could potentially be applied to other textures in food manufacturing as well as having major applications outside the food industry, which has since been confirmed. “Materials testing usually requires expensive equipment, but we’ve proven that recording, measuring and comparing sound pulses is rigorous and accurate. In the same way engineers used to tap wheels on railway engines to listen for faults, we can use these microphones to record a much wider frequency range to pick up tiny defects. Its potential is enormous”.

The outcome

These researchers showed that massive bursts of ultrasound are generated during the first second of biting into crunchy food – and are simultaneously analysed by the ears and mouth. Food physicist Professor Malcolm Povey explains: “Our research shows that the sound and feel of food in the mouth is as important as taste, look and smell in deciding whether we like something or not”.


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