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What is Mecmesin | Texture Analysis?

 

Mecmesin | Texture Analysis is the rebrand of our Food Technology Corporation (FTC) business under our parent Mecmesin brand.

Through our 15 plus year association with FTC, Mecmesin has built up extensive experience in practical food texture measurement.

This rebrand is part of our strategy to emphasise the strength of our capabilities and to grow our food texture analysis business.

Our expertise combined with our cost effective solutions for field, factory and laboratory test environments makes us the ideal partner for your texture measurement needs.

Texture analysis
Customer examples, texture analysis case studies and videos

Texture analysis 

We've pulled together some of our favourite texture analysis case studies, application examples, example videos and product introductions.

Discover more about tensile testing, including over 50 documented customer example applications, customer testimonials and more at Mecmesin.com (tensile strength).

Visit mecmesin.com for more tensile testing examples, customer case studies and applications, sub-types of testing etc

Texture analysis test examples and product videos

Case studies and customer examples

Glossary: Terminology of food texture

The description of food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical product texture is derived from sensory inputs from physical contact, including finger-feel and mouth-feel.

The following is a list of terms covering all aspects of food texture measurement and similar sensory-judged products, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

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Lipstick shear force resistance

Requirement

Lipstick holds the top spot in the hierarchy of makeup with its ability to completely transform appearance without the help of any other beauty product. One investigation by a beauty magazine concluded that the average consumer applies up to nine pounds of lipstick in their lifetime, so it’s no wonder that so much attention is focused on getting this little tube of oil / wax / colouring agent to perform consistently every time. The result not only needs to look good, with lasting results, but mustn’t bend, crack, crumble or break when applied.

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Granule hardness test

Requirement

Ecosyl Products Limited is one of the world's leading companies involved in the sales and marketing of forage additives for the agricultural industry. Ecosyl uses its own patented production technology to produce a range of silage additives.

Ecosyl scientists wanted to be able to assess the potassium sorbate they receive from suppliers, in order to increase the shelf life of products and ensure their physical integrity throughout the production process. This required a hardness test to be performed on multiple granule particulates.

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The Mecmesin test system allows us to assess the ability of our potassium sorbate suppliers to provide a grade that will not physically deteriorate through blending and storage, yet will enable us to extend the shelf life of our products, whilst enjoying the savings from reduced manufacturing costs. Mecmesin were exceedingly helpful at first contact and were very knowledgeable and professional throughout the process of test development. The company made great effort to ensure we achieved a working, reliable, repeatable and reproducible system that met all our requirements at a sensible price.

Gordon Marley, Senior Scientist - R&D
Ecosyl

The benefits of texture analysis in food production

Texture, and the related mouthfeel of food, plays an essential role in how consumers evaluate the product. In some cases, these characteristics are even more important than those of taste, appearance, or smell. Texture refers to how the physical attributes of the food are processed by the brain during mastication. Mouthfeel is related to texture in that it refers to the interactions between the surfaces in the mouth and the food. In its most simple form, mouthfeel is exactly that: how it feels in the mouth.

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If the texture doesn't feel right to the consumer, the product won't even get the chance to be tasted.  Companies can best meet consumer expectations through measurement (sensory testing and texture analysis) and control (formulation and processing parameters).

Drew Lambert
Technical Services Manager

Texture in food production

Texture, and the related mouthfeel of a product, plays an essential role in how consumers evaluate a product. In some cases, these characteristics are even more important than those of taste, appearance, or smell.

Texture refers to how the physical attributes of a food texture are processed by the brain during mastication. Characteristics like hard, soft, crispy, crunchy, are used by consumers to describe food texture.

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As consumers, we have a desired texture and mouthfeel ingrained in our brain for each consumable that we eat.

Few of us understand the extraordinary lengths to which food manufacturers go to ensure that we get exactly what we expect every time.

Drew Lambert
Technical Services Manager

Potato softness grading for salad

Application

 

Measuring texture of diced potatoes used in potato salads.

 

 

Problem

 

A processor of diced potatoes was relying on inconsistent, subjective sensory results to measure the texture of their product. Therefore, they needed a quantifiable, consistent and repeatable way to measure their product and implement a standardized range of 'ideal' product.

 

Solution

 

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Gel Capsule Rupture Strength

Requirement

A pharmaceutical company needed a way to measure the force required to rupture gel capsules. The force is an indication of the thickness of the shell of the gel caps. A wall that is too thin will not hold its shape, while one that is too thick will not dissolve properly. These caps are used in healthcare, nutrition and pharmaceutical delivery.

 

 

 

 

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Mayonnaise Consistency Regular and Low Fat

Introduction

Back extrusion measures mayonnaise firmnessThe following data was gathered for a manufacturer of mayonnaise in an effort to develop a repeatable method for comparing their regular and low fat products. Currently, the product is evaluated using rudimentary sensory methods. While sensory is very important, it is subjective and varies from person to person.

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Pork pie crust firmness

Situation

Vale of Mowbray has been baking pork pies since 1928. Having traditionally relied on sensory perception, where results are qualitative and could be biased, the company now needed an objective way of measuring the quality and consistency of their cooked and uncooked produce.

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Salami Skin Peel Force

Situation

standardised peel force measurement of salami skinA Dutch salami producer required a method to reproducibly quantify the peel profile of artificial sausage casings. The method had to take into account:

• maturation and storage conditions
• pre-test handling
• sample preparation and fixing

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Corn Chip Snack Crispness

The Application

corn chipsA large manufacturer of snack food items was looking for a quantifiable, consistent way to measure and ultimately better control the texture of their product. Current methods involved simple visual inspections and very subjective human sensory evaluation.

 

Problem

 

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Candy Cane Snap Testing

Situation

Candy CanesOne of the qualities of a good candy cane is its brittleness: not being bendy, tough and chewy. You can tell a good candy cane apart, by breaking it in your hands. But how brittle is how good, and where and how does it break? When is a candy cane past its best? Or will it break during packaging and transport—and can you manufacture a better product to a more consistent formula?

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Canned Tuna Firmness

Situation

Tuna being tested for firmness in its canIs this can of tuna of the right texture? Which part of it? Testing for firmness has frequently meant expert but subjective judgment. How can these assessments be correlated with objective measurements for reliable and repeatable testing?

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Granola Bar Bite Force Evaluation

The Application

Crisp granola bar can be tested by bend and snap testingA processor of nutritional and granola bars looking for a quantifiable, consistent way to measure and ultimately better control the texture of their product. Current methods involved simple visual inspections and very subjective human sensory evaluation.

 

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Rice Firmness and Cook Profile

Application

texture evaluation of cooked riceThe texture of rice is very important to how the consumer perceives the quality of the product. Unfortunately, the texture is affected by several different factors during the processing. The first thing that the producer has to determine is the quality of the incoming product. From this “starting point” adjustments in the processing can be made to produce a consistent end product.

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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.

Requirement

crispness of potato chips

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.

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Peanut Butter Flow

The Application

Three samples of a peanut-butter-based product were submitted to determine how to measure their flow characteristics. The product samples were marked good, dry, and wet.

 

 

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Pasta Firmness and Cook Profile

Situation

Close up uncooked penne pastaA processor of several different kinds of pasta was looking for a more consistent and less time consuming way to control its outgoing product. Current methods involve extensive sensory testing with trained panels. This is very subjective and often tedious to set up.
 

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Pasta Stickiness

Situation

Pasta shape stickiness samplesIs well-cooked pasta the same as pasta that is cooked well? The elusive ‘al dente’ condition is a description relating to the firmness (or texture) of cooked pasta, but how sticky the product is also has a critical influence on the consumer’s perception of the perfect serving.

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Rice White and Brown Rice Firmness

Situation

Rice cooking in wokFor most consumers, the option of white or brown rice comes down to a preference in texture versus a desire for the healthy option. The two varieties are very similar– white rice is produced from brown by the removal of the outer bran and germ layers – however, producers aim to increase the similarity in terms of mouthfeel by further processing techniques on the white variety.

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Potato Chips Hardness and Strength

Introduction

Texture-Analyzer-potato-chipsThe following data was gathered for a potato chip processor, in an effort to come up with a consistent and objective way to evaluate their potato products, specifically its hardness. Current methods include mostly subjective, sensory testing. While sensory is important, it is subjective and varies from person to person.

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Hot Dog Shear Resistance

A processor of hot dogs and meat products was looking for a way to better control the texture of their product. Current methods involved simple visual inspections and very subjective human sensory evaluation.

 

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Sausage Ball Firmness

Situation

Sausage ball samples for firmness testingA processor of meat products was looking for a way to better control its outgoing product. Current methods involve simple visual inspections and are very subjective.

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Beef Stick Firmness

Situation

Beef stick bite toughness testingA large manufacturer of beef sticks and beef jerky items was looking for a quantifiable, consistent way to measure and ultimately better control the texture of their product. Current methods involved simple visual inspections and very subjective human sensory evaluation.

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Caviar Softness

Situation

Caviar softness testing with a compression fixtureA supplier of fresh fish products wanted an objective method that could reliably determine quality levels of the caviar throughout the harvesting season.

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Ground Meat Firmness

Situation

Ground meat sample preparationA large producer of cooked sausage products for the foodservice industry needed a way to measure the effect that changes in the raw product, as well as the grinding and cooking process had on the finished product texture.

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Gelatin Snacks Regular and Sugar-Free

Situation

gelatinSweeteners are under the spotlight in many foods, and choice of sweetener affects both taste and mouthfeel. To ensure a reformulation of an established product continues to meet consumer expectations, objective data are required. This may be very difficult as regards taste, but for mouthfeel, a food texture analyzer provides a reliable answer.

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Cocktail Sausage Firmness Comparison

Situation

Texture-analyzer-Cocktail-SausagesThe following data was gathered for a potential client, in an effort to come up with a more consistent and objective way to evaluate the texture of their sausage products, specifically the firmness of the products. The current method is mostly on a sensory basis and can be very subjective.

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Salami Firmness

Situation

Salami firmness tester with loadcell and probeMeats contain mostly muscle (with directional fibers) plus fat, which will vary from cut to cut, making it a non-homogenous foodstuff in it most natural form.

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Carrots (Canned) Firmness

Introduction

The following customer data was gathered in an effort to develop a more objective way to evaluate the texture – firmness - of canned carrots in their final form. Currently, the processor relied on a subjective assessment. The ultimate goal of this method would be the ability to correlate objective numbers to the subjective sensory data and make recommendations for packaging and canning.

 

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Apple Freshness Comparison

Application

Measuring ripeness and firmness of fresh apples.

  

Problem

This processor did not have a way to objectively or quantitatively measure the texture of their products. Current methods for evaluating ripeness and firmness of apples were done through sensory panel testing and use of a penetrometer which both gave inconsistent and unreliable data.

 

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Potato softness grading for salad

Application

 

Measuring texture of diced potatoes used in potato salads.

 

 

Problem

 

A processor of diced potatoes was relying on inconsistent, subjective sensory results to measure the texture of their product. Therefore, they needed a quantifiable, consistent and repeatable way to measure their product and implement a standardized range of 'ideal' product.

 

Solution

 

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Tomatoes (Canned Diced) Bulk Firmness

Application

To measure overall firmness of canned, diced tomatoes.

 

Problem

A processor of canned vegetables, including diced tomatoes, did not have an objective, consistent, repeatable way to measure the firmness of the canned tomatoes nor develop a standard to which to compare all other products.

 

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Baked Beans Bulk Firmness

Application

A large processor of several different varieties of baked beans was looking for a way to supplement their current sensory methods. While these subjective methods are important to the company, a more objective method would add extra validation to the information already gathered from panels.

 

 

 

 

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Cranberry Bulk Firmness

Application

A processor of cranberries wanted a way to determine how to process individual lots based on the texture of the fresh product. Firmer cranberries are typically better suited for one type of products while the softer ones work better for another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perogie Mixture Filling Consistency

Application

One sample of perogie (or pierogi) filling was sent for preliminary evaluation. This sample is representative of the whole line of products; therefore these methods can be applied to the full range of products produced.

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Breeding Trials and Ripeness

Customer

Horticulture Research Station wanted a precision penetrometer for hardness testing of different varieties of apple during plant breeding trials. Flexibility for future test configurations were also a requirement.

Problem

Textural properties and structure of different varieties of apple were identified as critical sensory characteristics. Changes in these properties needed to be monitored during plant breeding work.

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Avocado - Frozen Product Firmness

Situation

Have you ever tried sorting frozen avocado? After dicing, soft avocado is suitable as a vacuum packed salad, whereas the firmer product is further processed as a higher-priced dried product. Wouldn’t it be great if a machine test could reliably do this for you?

Presented with three sample batches, FTC was able to demonstrate a method to precisely apply a repeatable firmness test.

 

 

 

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Cheese Slices Firmness and Stickiness

Situation

Cheese slices tested for firmness and lack of stickiness This processor did not have a way to objectively measure the difference in texture between their processed, sliced cheese products which they knew had two different textures by having peformed sensory testing on the products. If the cheese is too soft, it clogs up the industrial slicers. If the cheese is too hard, it will not be a desirable end product for consumer.

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Cream Cheese Firmness

Situation

A dairy foods processor wanted a quantifiable, consistent way to detect differences between two cream cheese products.

This processor had just formulated a new, low-fat cream cheese product and needed a way to measure the effects on its texture from changing the formulation from regular to low-fat.

 

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Mushrooms (Canned) Firmness Effect of Salt

Situation

A producer of canned mushrooms uses simple subjective measurements to evaluate the final texture of their product. The information is often used to make adjustments to the process. Their real need, however, is to obtain objective data that represents the sensory evaluation. Our example here demonstrates how this can easily be done using a food texture analyzer. For the particular test, an unsalted (control) product and a low-salt equivalent were compared.

 

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Pickled Gherkin Crunchiness

Situation

If you want to know the crunchiness of a pickle: bite it. Expert testers are relied on throughout the food industry, but can you objectively quantify crunchiness, and use this to assure product consistency, or improve manufacture? Different preparations can also be compared for measurable degrees of crunchiness.

 

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Margarine Spreadability

Situation

margarine sampleA manufacturer of different types of margarine wanted a quantifiable, consistent way to measure and ultimately better control the texture of their different products. They specifically wanted to know the spreadability of their packaged margarine.

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Cottage Cheese Curd Firmness

Situation

Dairy companies need a way to consistently measure and therefore, control the textural attributes of cottage cheese curd. Consumer desires for the texture of this product can vary considerably by geographical locations.

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Sweetener Effect on Chocolate Texture

Situation

A confectionery processor wanted to measure the effect on the final texture of their chocolate covered mint product when using a sugar substitute in the formulation.

This processor needed a way to objectively measure the final product texture between the regular and sugar-free formulations and be able to show any differences between them.

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Licorice Firmness

Situation

LicoriceA processor of candy licorice was looking for a way to measure and compare their two types of licorice product, a regular licorice and a soft licorice. Current methods involve sensorial inspections which are very subjective.

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Tablet Crush Resistance and Break Strength

Situation

What does it take to crush or break a tablet product? Whether it is a vitamin or a dishwasher additive, nobody wants a half-broken tablet left in the bottom of a packet or a whole one that's too hard to crack. A texture analyzer can objectively map the initial fracture point and upper/lower tolerances.

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Marshmallow Softness

Situation

MarshmellowsOur client produces a marshmallow product, for which the texture (firmness) is a key factor. Their testing method had been a simple sensory method of squeezing the product in the hand, but this did not provide objective data that could be fed back into the manufacturing process.

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Hard Candy Break Force

Situation

break-force-hard-candy-img

Too hard! Or just perfect? Bite a hard candy and you know, but can you measure it? This example shows how an expert sensory test (which can be variable between individuals and from day to day) can be quantified and reused in objective mechanized testing. There is more to a perfect candy than just hardness—the way it breaks matters as well. This too can be measured.

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Yeast Firmness

Specification

Texture testing a yeast block for firmnessA processor of yeast blocks was looking for a quantifiable, consistent way to measure and ultimately better control the texture of their product. Current methods involved simple visual inspections and very subjective human sensory evaluation.

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French Bread Staleness

Situation

texture analysis testing of french breadA producer of ready-to-eat products wanted a way to accurately and objectively determine the degree of 'staleness' of the bread used in their product. This property is critical to the production process.

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Cookie Hardness

Specification

hardness testing of a cookie

A speciality biscuit and cookie manufacturer wanted to objectively measure biscuit hardness. Three different samples were evaluated representing:

• too soft
• ideal
• too hard

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Crouton Crunchiness

Specification

Crouton samples for texture analysis

A large processor wanted a way to subjectively measure the differences in their “soft” and “crunchy” products. Current method involves just simple subjective sensory that tends to be inconsistent.

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Flatbread Burst Strength

Situation

Flatbread testing sample preparationThe following data was gathered for a producer of bakery flatbreads in an effort to develop a new methodology that would allow for consistent and repeatable assessment of their products in an objective manner.

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Cake Firmness

Situation

firmness testing of pound cake

A processor of pound cakes knew the textures of their products could be different depending on which formulation was used and therefore needed an objective and quantifiable tool to measure the texture to correlate with the sensory testing.

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Carrots (Baby) Core Toughness

Application

Two frozen samples of carrots with different degrees of toughness were analyzed using the standard shear compression cell (model CS-1) and the texture measurement model T-2000 with a load cell FTA-1000 pounds . The system was set to a speed of 8 inches per minute on a test run of 3.5 inches.

Sample preparation

The frozen samples were thawed in room temperature water. The product was run in two sample sizes:

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Asparagus (Raw) Fibrousness

Fibrousness of asparagus is an extremely important factor of quality for both the raw and processed product. The TMS-Pro System equipped with a single blade test cell can be used to determine fibrousness or the actual weight or yield of the processed product from tests on the raw product. This prediction of stalks or cuts free of objectionable fiber can be used as a basis of raw product payment or for determining whether to use or discard certain portions of the spear.

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Pea Harvest Maturity by Tenderometer

Application

Most pea processors pay their growers based on the Tenderometer value of the peas delivered to the processing plant. A Tenderometer Unit is a direct measure of the maturity and quality of the raw product being supplied, analyzed in bulk.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gummy Candy Hardness

Situation

Gummy candy comparisonA soft candy sugar confectionery producer wanted to measure the hardness of gummy sweets during stoving process as a predictor of elasticity and minimise time in the stoving oven.

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