Confectionery is one of the most diverse sectors when it comes to variations in texture. It is unique as the texture has been deliberately designed by food technologists to meet consumer requirements and market expectations. The range of ingredients and formulations available means there is virtually no limit to the variety of finished confectionery products that can be produced.
Getting the texture consistency right can, however, be a challenge when combining different ingredients and altering production methods to optimise the quality of new products. Continual innovation in this sector increases the risk of products failing quality standards or not performing as expected.
Test Methods for the Confectionery Sector
- Measuring small particulates in confections, such as meringue is much more accurate in bulk form.
- Measuring confectionery ingredients such as honeycomb, meringue and biscuit pieces
- Crunch testing of malt ball inclusions
- Performing texture profile analysis on marshmallows and gummy sweets
- Optimising formulation and consistency of tablet sweets
- Back extrusion is an ideal method for measuring the flow, thickening, and consistency of pastes, semi-solids and viscous liquids. Products can be tested in their own packaging.
- Comparisons between low fat and full fat chocolate spread
- Assessing different formulations of fillings
- Extrusion force of caramel as process indicator
Penetration and Puncture
- Measuring internal hardness of soft center fillings
- Penetrate toffee piece to measure hardness and stickiness characteristics
- Evaluate shattering and friability properties of brittle sweets
Multiple Point Penetration
- Measuring the consistency of filling in nougat bars
- Assessing the softness of gum
- Slice through nougat to measure average hardness from its cross-section. Cross-sections of samples can be evaluated by slicing through them with blades and wires imitating the actions applied by the front incisor teeth. Attributes assessed include bite strength, cook quality, tenderness and toughness. Product texture variations are measured by slicing through the whole sample.
- Measure bite profile of confectionery bars
- Cut through nougat to assess formulation change
- Evaluate the crispiness of sugar coatings
Snap, Bend and Break
- For larger bars or sheet type confectionery products, the three point bend is an ideal method for determining break strength.
- Break strength determination for products such as chocolate bars
- Snap or flexure crisp bar-shaped products
- Bite and break characteristics of mints and tablet-shaped candies and sweets
- Measure the elasticity of gums and laces using a tension test. Samples are stretched until they break at their weakest point to measure characteristics such as break resistance and elasticity.
- Stretching gum to assess extensibility