Grains and Snacks
As with all other foods, the textural properties of grains and snack food is very important. Grains and cereals such as rice, couscous and pasta products are always cooked prior to consumption. Therefore not only the product itself need to be the correct texture, but the preparation instruction that accompany the retail packages need to have the correct details for a quality finished product.
Snack foods are quite often made from grains and cereals and can be quite complex in their textures. Crispness and crunchiness are frequently desired attributes and if they are missing from the consumer’s evaluation then the product is often judged to be of poor quality or stale.
Every major rice processor in North America uses an FTC system of some kind to measure their products consistency.
Test Methods for the Grains and Snacks Sector
Typically the peak or maximum force incurred during the test is used. The sample is simply loaded by volume or weight and the results are available in seconds. Kramer Shear testing has been proven many times that its results give excellent correlation to sensor panel interpretations of texture.
- White and brown rice comparison
- Pasta firmness
- Hardness of pretzels
Compression, and the subsequent retraction of the platen enables firmness and stickiness to be evaluated. Cooking may release starches which cause adhesive properties.
- Pasta firmness to evaluate cooking time recommendations
- Whole-wheat pasta softness comparison
- Pasta stickiness
Penetration and Puncture
This technique can be used for hardness testing of many snack foods from cookies to potato chips. The probe is typically inserted into the product until it fractures or breaks through.
- Snack crispness
- Resistance to damage in transit to evaluate packaging
Snap, Bend and Break
Snapping and breaking also tests the crispness of brittle, crunchy foods. The peak force is measured along with the distance between contact with the sample and the point of fracture, should bend occur initially. This is useful to compare fresh and stale products.
- Snack staling evaluation
- Hardness and crispness analysis