Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Texture Analyzers used in the Confectionery sector

Our texture analysis equipment can be used for a whole range of different applications. Todays blog is going to focus on the confectionery industry.

Comparing the texture of different confectionery formulations
For more information on Gummy Sweet texture analysis - Click here

Gummy Sweets Comparison texture measurement

Sugar confectionery producer wanted to measure the hardness of gummy sweets during stoving process as a predictor of elasticity and minimise time in stoving oven. Sugar confectionery producer wanted to measure the hardness of gummy sweets during stoving process as a predictor of elasticity and minimise time in stoving oven. The problem was the stoving process is bottle-neck to production of gelatine based gummy confectionery.

The customer had been reliant on sensory testing to predict when sweets were at correct texture resulting in high degree of variation between batches.

The solution implemented was a compression test using a large ball probe used to replicate squeezing of gummy sweets between thumb and forefinger. This achieved the following: It identified key textural properties of gummy sweets through sensory evaluation and correlated findings with instrumental measurements and used hardness parameters to establish upper and lower tolerances for production

The benefit of these tests were that we were able to remove the bottle-neck in the production process by optimising the time gummy sweets spent in the stoving oven thereby maintaining consistent product quality.

Potato chip crispness testing by snapping on a 3-point bend fixture
For more information on potato chip crispness test in with texture analyzers - Click here 

Potato Chip Crispness Test

The crispness characteristics of kettle cooked potato chips were evaluated using a three point bend assembly as an indicator of frying profile.

A potato chip processor wanted to have an objective measurement to supplement and confirm the subjective data they have from sensory testing. Nine different samples were evaluated. The tests represented different potato chip phases too crisp, ideal and not crisp enough.

The results generated would be used to monitor the processing procedures, improve the consistency of the product, objectively measure inconsistencies, and give indicators of frying method in order to maintain an ideal process. Due to the inherent variation of the product, several methods were tried before determining that the snap or three-point bend would produce the most repeatable results. This test causes the chips to break in half at the weakest point; typically along the contact area of the upper fulcrum of the fixture.

Break characteristics can be used to optimise the product formulation and other factors that have an effect on the final product e.g. cook time, moisture content of raw product. Properties can be evaluated over time to show the effectiveness of the packaging in preventing excessive moisture migration, causing the product to go stale. Break properties can be used to determine the ideal sensory preference during the development stage of the product.

 For more information on fruit snacks texture analysis -  Click here
Texture Analysis of Fruit Snacks

A company producing fruit snacks needed a way to measure the texture of their products to ensure a consistent finished product. Since the raw materials used can vary over time, the production process needs to be adjusted accordingly. Current quality control methods were completely subjective and the results varied from person to person. A way to objectively and accurately measure the product was required. After several trials, it was determined that a simple penetration test would work well. This method was found to yield consistent data on the product and was quick and easy to set up. The samples were placed on a flat plate and punctured using a blunt, 3mm diameter, stainless steel probe.

Care was taken to select samples of very similar shape and size. Each sample was penetrated at a speed of 200mm/min to a distance of 20mm. Calculations of the peak force encountered and the work (area under the curve) were performed. The customer can now obtain objective measurements that correlate to historical subjective evaluations. Simple test method allows a large number of repetitions to be performed for meaningful statistical analysis. Results are easily exported to other programs for further analysis and long term SPC.

Texture Analysis of Chewing Gum

For more information on chewing gum texture analysis - Click here

Large food processor was looking for a way to control the texture of two similar products with different recipes. Current methods involved simple sensory testing. The two products were essentially the same, the difference being the flavor. The problem was that even though the process was the same, the final texture of each was different. The different flavoring ingredient was thought to be the cause. Because they did not have an objective way to measure the differences, there was no way to confirm this.

It was determined that using the 3 point bend for testing was going to give the best results. This basically replicates the treatment of the consumer when they put the gum in their mouth. Each sample was deformed to the same displacement. At the end of each replication,calculations of the peak force and work (area under the curve) were done. From these two measurements and the overall picture that the graph gave, we were able to show a significant difference in the two variants of the same product.

This allows the processor to put objective numbers to their sensory data and the software facilitates automatic statistical analysis and objective measurements with a graphing function that lets the user visually see where the two products are different simple and quick test.

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