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.

 

 

 

Method

The test was performed using an FTC TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer fitted with a 2500 N intelligent loadcell (ILC). For this particular application, a custom fixture was designed to meet the requirements of the test, comprising a 3.5 inch (89 mm) sample cell and 3.25 inch (82.5 mm) plunger plate. This back extrusion method allows the compressed product to flow around the compression plate, so that resistance or firmness can be measured.

For each test, 250 grams of fruit from a single batch was loaded into the sample cell. To maintain consistency across all batches, the samples came directly from refrigeration, as the fruit degrades rapidly once defrosted. The TL-Pro test program moved the plunger at a constant speed of 400mm/min to compress the product, to a depth 5mm from the bottom of the cell. The software recorded the peak force achieved, and calculated the area under the curve, representing the total work done (energy) during compression.

 

Results

The graphical representation from TL-Pro, of the test results for two representative samples from three batches, is shown here (force applied, against cumulative displacement).

The graph clearly shows that firmness can be distinguished by this test, and that the three batches are different. This enables mechanical testing to be used for determining product suitability for each destination: vacuum packed fresh salad or dried.

The shape of the curves signify meaningful characteristics of the samples also – the flat curve indicates softness in the fruit, while the jaggedness reflects a sample with firmer individual pieces.

  • Avg = average: arithmetic mean
  • SD = standard deviation
  • CV = coefficient of variation(SD/Mean) x 100

 

Significance

This test method demonstrates the advantages of mechanical testing (or a food texture analyzer). A single quick test can be compared with standardized measures of firmness to determine the quality of the product. Over-firm avocado will not make its way into salad, nor over-soft fruit into the dried preparation stream. The value of the dried product can be maximized and the quality of salad mouthfeel optimized.

Fixtures on Case studies

Associated Method: 

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As a Meat Scientist and program leader for the University of Nevada, Reno, I need to ensure that equipment I use in my lab is reliable, durable, versatile, and accurate. For texture analysis of meats, there are many systems available in the market. Over the last 15 years of my career, I¹ve worked with many of them and had great and bad experiences with different brands.

Last year, I decided to try a different system for my lab, the TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer from Food Technology Corporation. The system has all the attributes I was expecting to conduct texture and shear force analysis in a quick and not complicated way. The customer support provided by them is outstanding and their technicians are always ready to walk me through new procedures and initial set up. If you are looking for a reliable system for food texture analysis and special customer service, the TMS-Pro is the system to go for and the Food Technology Corporation is the one that can deliver the support.

Amilton de Mello
Assistant Professor of Agriculture, Meat Science and Food Safety
https://www.unr.edu/anvs

As a seasonal vegetable processor, understanding crop maturity and the accuracy of this measurement is key to staying ahead of crop and knowing when to make the move from value to premium product as harvest time constraints permit.

The TU units provided by FTC give us the accuracy to work to much tighter tolerances, replacing older less accurate analogue equipment which in turn can affect final product grading and profitability.

The units are well designed, very low maintenance and are backed up with a strong support service which will allow them to provide many years of accurate, reliable service.

Colven Wilson
Technical Manager
http://www.eyefreeze.co.uk/

Service, equipment and people are all first class with Food Technology Corporation.

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David Smith, Riviana Foods Inc.
http://www.riviana.com/