Grains and cereals such as rice, oats, wheat and grain products e.g. couscous and pasta are fundamental to the diets of billions of people worldwide.
These products are cooked before consumption so their texture needs to be evaluated in their raw state and also after cooking instructions have been followed, to ensure a desirable texture is achieved in the finished product. For example, every major rice processor in North America uses a Mecmesin texture analyzer to measure the consistency of their products.
Snack foods made from grains and cereals e.g. popcorn, granola bars, and snacks such as pretzels, tortilla chips, and potato & vegetable crisps can have complex textures.
The snacks industry is very innovative and there is a trend towards healthy eating, and new formats and concepts such as low sugar and carb alternative products made from cauliflower and legumes. Textural properties are often critical for the success of snack products.
Although snack products come in many shapes they all tend to be eaten in dry form and have low residual moisture content and a similar texture, i.e. they feel brittle and crunchy in the mouth.
Incorrect processing, change of ingredients/formulation, and poor moisture control both during and after processing will affect the product texture. If crispness and crunchiness are missing from the consumer’s evaluation then the product is often judged to be of poor quality or stale.
Mecmesin products are used to precisely quantify the textural characteristics of grains and snacks, improve mouthfeel, and enhance a consumer's eating experience.
For example, the crispiness of crunchy and brittle snacks can be assessed through snapping and breaking tests, and the adhesive properties of pasta can be predicted by analyzing the release of starch when the product is cooked. Bulk analysis using a Kramer Shear Cell is a rapid, simple, and popular way of testing snack foods as it enables testing of large sample sizes with minimum replications.
As well as texture our versatile products can also be used to control the quality of snack packaging e.g. measuring peel strength and tear resistance properties.