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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

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

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/

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