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Cheese - Traditional and Vegan Texture

Situation

As consumers’ diets change, for ethical or health reasons (by choice or recommended), food producers are faced with the challenge of meeting the new requirements, whilst often striving to preserve the established texture. The vegan diet avoids dairy products, but cheese is extensively enjoyed by the modern consumer and so a product that combines a good taste with mouthfeel equivalent to the dairy original makes commercial sense. We set out to determine if a Food Technology Corporation (FTC) food texture analyzer can be used to measure the firmness of alternative cheeses and thus become part of a consistent and repeatable evaluation method. This test compares the texture of a commercially produced Cheddar product to that of a vegan-approved variant.

 

Method

The FTC TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer was fitted with a 250 N intelligent loadcell and a 6mm diameter probe of lightweight stainless steel. Each cheese sample was tested directly out of refrigeration, 54° ±1°F (12° ±1°C, approx.). For each test, the Texture Lab Pro software program moved the probe downwards until contact with the sample was detected, where load and displacement were zeroed. The sample was penetrated to a depth of 15mm at a constant speed of 300 mm/min. On completion of the down stroke, the probe was moved up at the same speed to a position 5mm above the surface of the sample. Additional replications were then made in rapid succession in order to get a better overall average of the firmness of the samples. At the completion of testing, the software calculated the peak compressive force (firmness) 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 3 samples of each variety, is shown here (force applied, against cumulative displacement).

The control and vegan sample curves show a distinction and the individual curves for each are very closely clustered, as expected for multiple readings on a largely homogenous product. One test on the vegan alternative recorded an anomaly, which was subsequently found to be an air bubble within the product. The overall shape of curve for both cheeses shows a rapid slope during initial compression, followed by a linear increase. As the probe is retracted, the adhesion of the product causes a tension force to be recorded, indicating stickiness.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here.

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

 

Significance

Consistency in the results shows that this procedure is a repeatable and reliable method of testing the texture of cheese. The comparison clearly indicates that the vegan alternative is less firm than the traditional sample, and also less sticky – providing reduced adhesion between the sample and the probe’s compression face. A conclusion could be that the vegan product is more crumbly and less moist than the traditional recipe, probably by nature of the fat content, which differentiates it from the non-dairy product. This test shows that by the use of a texture analyzer, the processor will be able to have a better understanding of how changes in formulation can affect the final texture of the product. This knowledge may be used to optimize their vegan product range to more closely emulate any traditional cheese variety in terms of texture.

Trusted by customers across the world

Our experience with FTC has been more than satisfactory, not only for the quality of the equipment you’ve got but for the post selling service that has proved to be excellent.

Any problem that we had, it took nothing more than a simple mail or phone call to have your immediate answer. We want to thank you very much for the quality of service provided.

 

 

Gonzalo Moraes, Arrozur S.A. Montevideo – Uruguay

I have been working with FTC for the past 3 years, we bought in that lapse of time 2 texture analyzers with different probes fixtures for all kind of applications at our Monterrey Plant. We have always been able to count on the technical support of FTC who kindly answers our requests in a prompt manner and with the best disposition.

As we continue developing our process to achieve better results at our company, we will for sure rely on FTC for technical support and equipment upgrades that will deliver us the best possible results.

Claudia Rojas, Hershey Monterrey Plant - Mexico
Asst. Staff Scientist
https://www.hersheys.com

My first contact with FTC was through buying texture analyzer equipment as my area of interest is Rheology. We faced a problem operating the appliance. The company tried hard to help us through the internet, but the University thought it was better to send me to the company branch located in England. I received a highly advanced training course for 10 days free of charge. They provided me with programs that operate the equipment along with the information needed.

It was a great effort and outstanding support. I would like to thank Shirl Lakeway and FTC for providing me with this opportunity and for his continuous help. Finally, I encourage researchers who are interested in the physical properties of foods and dairy to choose FTC as it is a respectable and dependable company and offers the best deals concerning prices and training with different languages, such as Arabic for the Middle East.

Professor Hoda El-Zeini, Dairy Science and Agriculture University - Cairo, Egypt
Professor
https://cu.edu.eg