Texture analyzers, or texturometers, are instruments used to apply scientific methods to the measurement and analysis of product texture. Such equipment is used to evaluate and control the factors affecting quality, processing, handling and shelf-life, enabling the producer to understand consumer habits and acceptance criteria. Food texture, through touch, is very important factor for the end customer, in addition to taste and smell. Cosmetics and pharmaceutical products are also sensory-dependent and benefit greatly from a texture analysis capability. FTC's texture analysis range consists of the latests systems, tenderometers and texture presses.
The principle of a texture measurement system is to physically deform a test sample in a controlled manner and measure its response. The characteristics of the force response are as a result of the sample’s mechanical properties, which correlate to specific sensory texture attributes. A texture analyzer applies this principle by performing the procedure automatically and indicating the results visually on a digital numerical display, or screen.
Forces created during this movement are manipulated to recreate consumer interactions, for example the conditions that foods are exposed to when eaten or processed. This enables the direct measurement and thus the ability to predict how a product will perform or feel.
There are fundamental test methods designed to deform samples in ways which simulate these complex human interactions and replicate such conditions. FTC has a range of fixtures to apply these test types.
Instrumental methods of assessing texture can be carried out under strictly defined and controlled conditions. In food production, changes in ingredient levels can cause several simultaneous changes in product characteristics. A texture analyzer has the capacity to replace human sensory evaluation by providing a numerical value which serves as a quality assurance standard by which products can be evaluated.
Different test applications call for different levels of technology, load capacity, robustness, accuracy and budget. These requirements directly affect the choice of texture analysis apparatus. FTC provide food technologists with several levels of instrumentation to fit every test environment from laboratory or production facility to field testing.