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Dairy industry

Dairy has a variety of physical properties as it made from a complex microstructure of protein and fat. From the raw ingredients, through manufacturing procedures and post-manufacturing processes, the physical structure of dairy products changes and with it the subjective, sensory properties consumers use to evaluate a product's quality. The measurement of texture (from butter spreadability to curd firmness) is of paramount importance within today's modern dairy helping food technologists assess engineering performance and sensory quality throughout the manufacturing process.

Manufacturers must be able to guarantee the consistency of their products when used in prepared foods, for example, cheese, in order to maintain a good quality finished product. Healthier alternatives need to retain a similar mouthfeel to that of their counterparts in order to convert consumers to the new product.

Consumers will often use the following descriptions as a measure of their perceptions:

  • Creaminess
  • Softness
  • Thickness
  • Stickiness
  • Chewiness

When addressing these issues, it can be difficult to translate sensory terms into fundamental physical and functional characteristics. These qualities may require several test methods to correlate the sensory description.

Test methods for the dairy sector

A number of texture test techniques exist for measuring dairy product texture. Applying the most appropriate test involves keeping the texture testing practical and real, by using the techniques that best replicate handling by the consumer e.g. pouring, spreading, bending, cutting and squashing the product.

Examples of typical types of dairy texture measurement include:

  • Viscous liquids, such as yogurt, evaluation of flowability and spoonability
  • Cheese texture shredability measured for improved control in production and softening (meltability)

Bulk analysisDairy Bulk Analysis

  • Assessment of curd firmness
  • Bulk shearing to measure cottage cheese curd at different PH value formulations





CompressionDairy Compression

Squashing solid and self-supporting samples enables a number of textural properties to be evaluated, including hardness, stickiness, springiness and fracturability.

  • Assess crumbliness of feta cheese
  • Measure elasticity and springiness of brie, or other soft cheeses
  • Compression behaviour of cheddar cheese, or other hard cheeses


Extrusion (back extrusion)Dairy Extrusion

Used for softer foods such as pastes and liquids, which can be tested in their own packaging. Viscous liquids and semi-solid liquids are displaced in a controlled manner in order to assess characteristics such as flow, thinning and thickening, consistency, adhesiveness and spreadability, affected by ingredient viscosity. Within dairy products such as yogurt and creams, this test will identify spoonability and flow properties of finished products.

  • Flow characteristics of fromage frais
  • Shear thinning in pumps of soured cream
  • Extrusion comparison between low fat and full fat yogurts


Penetration and punctureDairyy Penetration and Puncture

Ball probe used to measure thickening of dips. Small cylinders, balls, needles and cones are used to penetrate into a sample’s surface imitating biting in the mouth.

  • Press on camembert surface to assess ripeness
  • Measure consistency and body of gelled structure
  • Analyze the thickening of mouss.


Multiple point penetrationMultiple point penetration

Measuring firmness of cheese with particulates using multiple point analysis. Used to test multiple points on one sample where texture and form may vary considerably from one area to the next to measure properties such as firmness, gel strength and maturity. This may include particulates or multiple layered products, such as cheeses, where texture differs from one point to the next. Application examples include: *

  • Firmness allowing for particulates in fruited cheese


ShearDairy Shear

Cross-sections of samples can be evaluated by slicing through them with blades and wires imitating the actions applied by the front incisor teeth. Attributes assessed include bite strength, tenderness and toughness. Product texture variations are measured by slicing through the whole sample. In products such as cheese, this is an important indicator of shredability when assessing its potential for machining.

  • Measure butter firmness according to ISO standard 16305
  • Fracture properties of hard cheese to evaluate grating/slicing hardness

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David Smith, Riviana Foods Inc.

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

I have been using the TMS-Pro mechanical tester in our undergraduate biological materials property course for the past 3 years. The simple setup and operation of the TMS-Pro allows my students to focus on learning the theoretical underpinnings of mechanical properties instead of fighting with a finicky test system.

An added bonus is working with Shirl and his amazing team at Food Technology Corporation. They respond almost immediately to questions and inquiries and are always friendly and helpful. 

Jennifer (Melander) Keshwani, Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln