Carrots (Canned) Firmness

Introduction

The following data was gathered for a potential customer 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.

 

Materials and Methods

Tests were performed with a FTC’s TMS Pro Texture Analyzer, fitted with a 2500N Intelligent Load Cell and a CS-1 Standard Shear Cell. This particular cell is designed to test products in a bulk form instead of doing one piece at a time. Testing in bulk generally produces more consistent results as it takes into account more variation that occurs from piece to piece.

Each test replication involved draining the carrot samples and allowing them to sit for 90 seconds. 100 gram samples were measured and placed in the CS-1 Shear cell. Once placed in the texture analyzer, the Texture Lab Pro software moved the blades of the test cell down at a speed of 250 mm/min to a distance that was far enough to ensure that the product was completely expressed through the bottom of the test cell. Upon completion of the test cycle, the software automatically calculates the peak force of compression or “firmness” of the sample. In addition, the work (area under the curve) was calculated as an additional defining factor, though in this particular test only the firmness value was used.

 

Results and Discussion

On the right is the graphical representation of the samples that were tested. The X-axis is displacement and the Y-axis is force.

This graph shows 5 replications of the same sample.

The table below the graph is showing the calculations.

This table of results shows both the maximum force incurred during the test (Firmness) but also the area under the curve (Work) in the graph traces above. The results are fairly consistent as would be expected when only testing a single product. The variations are most likely caused by the product’s orientation in the can during the retort process. Product cooks different depending on whether it is in the top, middle, or bottom of the can. While these differences are minimal, the sensitivity of the stand allows it to capture this minor variation. While the variation is a little high for a single product test, the consistency of the results would be narrowed with additional replications.

 

Conclusions

Based on these results, it can be determined that this methodology is a valid way to measure the firmness of a canned carrot product. While additional testing would be needed to confirm this, a coefficient of variation (COV) of less than 10% is within the acceptable level of variation for food texture testing.

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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.

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http://www.eyefreeze.co.uk/