Food texture analysis can be carried out using simple equipment and methods. It can be very useful for food entrepreneurs who cannot afford the cost of acquiring tools.
A digital weighing scale
A camcorder, digital camera or cellphone capable of taking videos
A tool for crushing, piercing or cutting a food sample.
Weighing scale is for determining the amount of force needed to break a sample. To make things less complicated, let us replace force with “weight”. Placing the right hand on digital weighing scale records the weight of hand due to gravitational force. Pushing the hand toward the weighing scale plate will show the combined weight due to gravitational force and man’s strength.
Then how can it be used for texture analysis?
Example. Power on the digital weighing scale. Place a piece of pulvoron. Press the tare button to reset the weight reading to zero. Then place set of weights on top of polvoron by one gram increments – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and so on… The pulvoron will eventually breaks. If the product breaks at 100 grams weight then the breaking point of this pulvoron is 100 grams. It is hard enough to resist less than 100 grams weight.
For the purpose of quality assurance, all pulvoron produced should resist about 95 grams weight if the set breaking point if 90 to 100 grams. If significant number break at 80 grams, then something is wrong with the process. Go back and check the process flow.
Human eye might not catch the breaking moment. That is why a camcorder should be used every time. Watch a slow motion replay to see the exact value.
Placing set of weights by increments might be impossible, a plate can be pushed towards it instead. Here are other pointers: 1) Use a knife for a cut test, 2) Pointed steel for penetration test, and 3) Plate, cylinder or ball for break test.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.