How to Measure Toughness/Chewiness/Bite Force or Cutting Force

Actuation force measurement applications using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser

BITING/CUTTING FORCE gives an indication of the firmness/hardness of a product. If one considers that if the top front teeth were pulled from a curve-shape into a straight line they would represent a 'knife edge'. Using a knife blade gives a close representation of the biting or cutting action.

TOUGHNESS: whilst Hardness/Firmness is commonly the textural property possessed by most products, the word 'toughness' or 'chewiness' may often substituted for a textural property more associated with the product. Toughness (or 'chewiness') is commonly the textural property possessed by meat, fish and poultry products but also found to be named for baked products such as tortillas, pancakes or pizzas. The toughness is often taken as the total positive area under the curve. This measurement effectively records the total 'work' involved in performing this test. It therefore follows that a higher area value indicates a higher amount of energy involved in performing the test and subsequently is translated as a tougher sample to test.

Look at Hardness as the effort you use to push your shopping trolley round the supermarket. The difficulty of pushing it is dependent on the shopping being added. The more shopping you put in, the harder it is to push, i.e. the greater force you have to apply. The toughness or work is the accumulated effort of the whole journey around the supermarket from empty trolley to the checkout!

The descriptions Tenderness and Toughness are not absolute. They have to be defined by agreement between the parties using them. Tenderness maybe the inverse of toughness, as perhaps softness is the inverse of hardness.

Typical properties that can be obtained from a texture analyser graph:

Work of Shear, Toughness, Biting Force, Cutting Force, Hardness, Firmness
Typical texture analysis graph

Typical Texture Analyser graph with annotated properties of sausage shearing test

Typical Probe/Fixture used for Measurement:

Blades and Craft Knives >>


Stable Micro Systems’ range of blades vary considerably in size, material, thickness and sharpness. In general they measure the Bite/Cutting Force of products which in some instances can relate to their 'Toughness'. When a product is uniform (homogenous), a single blade test may be adequate for the repeatable assessment of the product.

However, quite often, a product is non-uniform (heterogeneous) in make-up. For example, cereal bars are of different structure throughout their length. A single cutting test may encounter a peanut, toffee piece and hard wheat piece. The same cutting test done further down the length of the product will produce a different result; this time the blade may encounter a fruit piece and a chocolate chip. The same type of explanation can be given for a piece of meat.

To assess these types of product in a more reproducible way, the recommendation is to perform a multiple shearing test (most often using a Kramer Shear Cell). This test performs 5 or 10 cutting tests within one test and therefore creates an averaging effect.

The above are only typical examples of biting force/ cutting force/ toughness/ chewiness measurement. We can, of course, design and manufacture probes or fixtures that are bespoke to your sample and its specific measurement.

Once your measurement is performed, our expertise in its graphical interpretation is unparalleled – no-one understands texture analysis like we do. Not only can we develop the most suitable and accurate method for the testing of your sample, but we can prepare analysis procedures that obtain the desired parameters from your curve and drop them into a spreadsheet or report designed around your requirements.

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Texture Analysis probes

Probes & Fixtures

The Texture Analyser uses a range of different probes and fixtures according to your specific application.

Exponent Software


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Peltier cabinet

Temperature Control

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Acoustic Envelope Detector setup

Measure More than Force

By attaching peripheral devices you can collect additional measurement parameters during your standard texture analysis test.

Automated Linear Indexing System


Find out how to increase your sample throughput, walk away time and testing efficiency with several automation options.

Loadcell in case


Our range of Texture Analyser accessories covers requirements for the use, maintenance and protection of your instrument.

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