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Hard Candy Break Force

Situation

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Too hard! Or just perfect? Bite a hard candy and you know, but can you measure it? This example shows how an expert sensory test (which can be variable between individuals and from day to day) can be quantified and reused in objective mechanized testing. There is more to a perfect candy than just hardness—the way it breaks matters as well. This too can be measured.

 

Method

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Various fixtures can be used on a food texture analyzer, including bite simulators, but for this test a 6 mm diameter cylinder probe was used. A Food Technology Corporation (FTC) TMS-Pro texture analyzer was fitted with a 500 N intelligent loadcell, and programmed to test a series of samples from the same bag of candy.

The test program moved the probe at 50 mm/min to meet the sample, then move a further 2 mm to break it, before returning to the start position. The TL-Pro software then analyzed the data, and calculated the peak force achieved in breaking each sample.

The pattern of break could also be assessed visually. Consumers may agree that larger pieces are better than crumbs, but are they consistent? Different fixtures could be compared for representation of a real bite. 

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

 

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We can see some variability between the samples, both in displacement required to break, and the peak force achieved. Two gradients emerge, which on a production line may be worth investigating if they become too distinct. The tails of the traces show some secondary resistance from fragments which can be ignored as too random.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here.

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

 

Significance

This example provides an objective and repeatable method for measuring the break force of hard candies as an accurate proxy for the bite experience.

By comparison with a batch of samples subjectively tested as acceptable, an average break force measurement can be used for routine testing, with a tolerance band built in, to present instant pass-fail indication. On the production line this can give rapid feedback to correct drift in a process, and in formulation can be used to improve consistency.

Different probes could be compared for suitability with a particular product, according to the characteristics of the break, in order to provide the clearest data profile. Different displacements, once an average break displacement has been measured, could also avoid secondary features arising from broken fragments. Using a food texture analyzer therefore provides a detailed and objective picture of what lies beneath the subjective sensory test.

Trusted by customers across the world

The University of Arizona’s Nutritional Sciences Food Lab acquired a Texture Analyzer from Food Technologies about 5 years ago. The company has a great product, which is tailored to food needs. 

We have used the Texture Analyzer for both research projects and as a tool to demonstrate to students how food manufacturers can employ objective testing in product evaluation to show how differing ingredients in the same product can affect quality attributes. Its use adds another dimension to the foods labs.

Drew Lambert has been instrumental in helping with set up for testing and providing support whenever there’s a question. He has been a pleasure to work with and is always accommodating with our needs and schedules.  He has even sent us special attachments for special projects.  We couldn’t ask for a better technical support.  Thanks for a great product and great service.

Patricia Sparks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice
https://www.arizona.edu

Excellent customer service. Consistently followed up and offered help without asking. Relatively low priced - provides good value. 

Easy to switch different load cells. Used it for 5 lab sessions for 68 students this semester and performed well.

 

 

Professor Jeyam Subbiah, University of Nebraska
https://nebraska.edu/

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