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A large manufacturer of beef sticks and beef jerky items was looking for a quantifiable, consistent way to measure and ultimately better control the texture of their product. Current methods involved simple visual inspections and very subjective human sensory evaluation.
The manufacturer had received consumer complaints that some of the beef sticks were too chewy when bitten into. The manufacturer needed to develop a baseline or “standard” for their “ideal” product so that they could compare other products (i.e. too chewy) to it. Before our test, they used sensory analysis alone to determine the bite strength of the product, however, they wanted a method to quantify the data and visualize the difference in the flavors and also difference in an ideal sample and a not ideal sample. A consistent and repeatable method of measuring and therefore controlling the texture is essential.
All testing was done using a TMS-Pro with a 250N Load cell and a shear blade fixture, of notched Warrner-Bratzler design - an industry-standar for the evaluation of the toughness of meat products. The chart at the bottom exhibits the data collected from running samples of 4 different beef stick products. The graph demonstrates noticeable difference between the 4 flavors. After running many reps on each flavor, the manufacturer could get a “standard” or baseline for that particular flavor. Then, they can compare that number (peak force) to a product that is considered “too chewy”.