Texture is an important attribute in that it affects processing and handling, influences habits, and affects shelf-life and consumer acceptance of products.
Characterisation of texture commonly falls into two main groups, based on sensory and instrumental methods of analysis.
Sensory analysis includes use of the senses of smell, taste, sound and touch. Evaluation of food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic texture by touch includes the use of the fingers, as well as the lips, tongue, palate and teeth in the mouth. As would be expected, sensory methods of analysis are subject to wide variability, though this variability can be reduced by using trained assessors.
It is sometimes preferable to use instrumental methods of assessing texture rather than sensory analysis because they can be carried out under more strictly defined and controlled conditions. Furthermore, problems of experimental variability are more likely to be caused by sample heterogeneity than by instrumental imprecision. Another reason for instrumental analysis may be that often changes in ingredient levels cause several simultaneous changes in product characteristics. Some of these changes are difficult to mask and thus tend to make sensory analysis difficult, e.g. variation in cake firmness due to sugar content.
Therefore a main goal of many texture studies is to devise one or more mechanical tests with the capacity to replace human sensory evaluation as a tool to evaluate texture.
Scientific Texture Analysis provides quantifiable, repeatable and accurate data on the physical properties of food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and chemical products. It is now an established procedure in research, and a valuable tool in the quest for improved quality control methods. Measurements that yield both fundamental and empirical product characteristics are well developed and wide ranging imitative test procedures are becoming increasingly important.
Texture Analysers are used to measure many properties, such as Hardness, Brittleness, Fracturability, Adhesiveness, Elasticity, Bloom Strength etc, on a vast range of products.
PELEG, M. (1983). The semantics of rheology and texture. Food Technol., 11, 54-61.
SZCZESNIAK, A. S. (1987). Correlating Sensory with Instrumental Texture Measurements - An Overview of Recent Developments. J. Text. Studies, 18, 1-15.
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