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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).

 

graph-hard-candy

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

Nestle purchased a texture system from Food Technology Corporation in 2006. Since then I have recommended the texture system to several vendors in North and Central America. Staff at FTC was able to develop a simple training manual and procedure for the texture system allowing easy training in short period of time.

From purchasing of equipment through to installation and start-up, the level of personal care and service was remarkable. Shirl Lakeway and his staff at Food Technology Corporation are patient and understanding, and are always at our disposal for any assistance. Since we bought the equipment we have had no problems and feel very secure knowing that we can count on FTC for their support and service.

Dr Mawele Shamaila, Nestle - USA
http://www.nestleusa.com/

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

I am impressed by the great attitude you have toward your customers.

With all the responsibilities you have, but in less than an hour you reply to our one year’s worth of questions, as if you are dedicated to provide support to our company only.

 

 

Ahmed N. Alajaji, Aljazirah Dates and Food, Saudi Arabia
http://www.aljazirahdates.com.sa