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Texture Analysis SolutionsPopcorn crunchiness texture cooking process comparison

  • Objective results comparison between two end-consumer popcorn cooking methods
  • Food processor can recommend cooking instructions to give confidence in the final serving’s texture
  • Bulk analysis fixtures replicate biting through a handful of popcorn
  • Peak biting force indicates the resistance to chewing, correlating with crunchiness mouthfeel


Two hot air samples were prepared in commercially available home-cook popcorn poppers.  The two microwaveable samples were heated in a microwave oven for three minutes.  All samples were allowed to cool to room temperature before being analyzed. After cooling, 5 g samples were placed in the Kramer CS-1 Standard Shear Compression Cell for testing.


For each test replication, 5 g samples were prepared. The testing was done using a Texture Analyzer fitted with a 3000 lbs load cell. This large load cell had to be used due to the high forces encountered during the tests. Speed for this test was set to 7 inches per minute to a deformation distance of 3.5 inches. This distance was selected so the upper fixture blades on the CS-1 Shear Cell would shear completely through enough of the product to be representative.

Sample\Profile Batch 1
Hot air
Batch 2
Hot air
Batch 3
Hot air
Batch 4
Hot air
1 1909 1860 1021 1546
2 1848 2063 1214 1259
3 1919 1965 1085 1256
4 1985 1968 1085 1256
5 2028 1837 1122 1175
Average 1938 1939 1097 1225

Results and benefits

The results above show that there is a significant difference between the hot air and the microwave products. The hot air produced a firmer product, almost twice the peak force measured, while the microwave products were softer. The consumer would perceive this a crunchiness as the characteristic of how the popcorn fractures. This information could be used as a valuable tool by processors to help control some of the different production parameters to ensure that a consistent and desirable product is being made, and to be confident in home-cooking recommendation. Being able to measure and control the texture of a product is a very important quality aspect, especially when similar products are intended to replicate each other, as in this case.

A bowl of popcorn prepared for eating or analysis
Popcorn sample in the shear cell container box
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