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Confectionery Capabilities

Candy (Peppermint) Hardness Testing by Cylinder Probe Penetration Method

The hardness of some candy is very important as it is an indication of its resistance to breakage during shipment. Most of these hard candies are consumed in a way that does not involve chewing.

The hardness of these products is a quality characteristic directly related breakage resistance during transport to the final consumer. Using a TMS Texture Analyzer fitted with a 6 mm cylinder probe, the force needed to fracture and break the product can be obtained in an objective manner.

The probe moves down to a certain distance that allows enough force to be exerted on the sample that its structure fails. The more force that is needed for this to happen, the harder the product is said to be.

Producers can use this information to predict whether or not their product is hard enough to make it through the transport process without breaking.

Food Technology Systems:TMS Pro Computer-controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Case Study: Peppermint Candy Hardness

Candy Break Force Testing by Cylinder Probe Penetration Method

Many candies are considered to be hard, yet they are consumed by chewing. This means there is fine line between too hard and too soft.

If the candy is said to be soft, it could break or have a texture that is undesirable to the consumer.

A product that is too hard could result in something like a broken tooth for the consumer. The producers want to avoid both of these situations.

Using a texture analyzer fitted with a 6 mm cylinder probe allows for a simple penetration test that will measure the force needed to break the product.

The more force exerted before breakage, the harder the product is said to be.
This particular setup allows the user to test multiple samples in rapid succession, giving an overall average of the product in a short time frame.

Food Technology Systems: TMS Pro Computer-Controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Case Study: Hard Candy Break Force

Candy Cane Break Strength Testing by 3-Point Bend Break Method

The resistance to breaking is a quality component for candy canes and similar hard confectionery. If the product is considered too brittle, then there is a greater chance that it will break or fracture during the shipment process.

The lower part of the 3 three point bend fixture supports the samples while the upper fulcrum moves down to bend and ultimately break the sample. The software then calculates the force needed to snap the candy, which can be correlated to the brittleness of the product.

Manufacturers can use this information to understand how process and formulation variances can affect the quality of the final product.

Food Technology Systems: TMS-Pro Computer-Controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Case Study: Candy Cane Snap Testing

Candy Corn Hardness Testing by Compression Platen Method

Many products require only a simple compression test to measure the desired textural attribute. For candy corn, a 75 mm compression plate was used to test the samples.

This very simple test compressed each sample to a certain distance. At the conclusion of the test, the software was used to make calculations on the force/distance curve.

For this product, only the peak force (hardness/firmness) was needed to differentiate between “good” and “bad” samples. Using this information, producers should be able to control certain aspects of their processing based on objective texture data from the texture analyzer.

Food Technology Systems: TMS Pro Computer Controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Caramels Bulk Hardness Testing by Cup and Plunger Compression Method

Some products are more easily tested in a bulk form, meaning several pieces are tested at once instead of just one piece at a time. A better overal view of batch quality is also obtained.

For this test, samples were weighed and then placed in the sample cup of the universal cell. Then a plunger moved down and compressed the sample to a set distance from the base of the cup.

At the conclusion of the test, the software calculates the peak force for the test cycle. This number can be directly related to the hardness of the samples, which the manufacturers can use to understand process changes and make necessary adjustments.

Food Technology Systems: TMS Pro Computer Controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Chocolate Mint Break Strength Testing by 3-Point Bend Break Method

Being able to measure how a change in formulation affects the final texture of a product is a critical step in maintaining quality. When low or zero calorie sweeteners are substituted to a produce a recipe marketed as a “healthy” product, it is important that the alternative be as similar to the original option as possible in order to fit the consumers’ expectations.

By using the 3 point bend fixture to compare the texture of a control and a variation, the processor can gain valuable information regarding how the change in formulation affects the final product. The test is done by placing the cookie on the two lower support fulcrums of the fixture as the software moves the upper fulcrum down until it breaks the sample, measuring the peak force.

Ideally, the processor would like the 2 products to break at the same point. This would indicate that they have a similar texture.

Food Technology Systems: TMS-Pro Computer-Controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Case Study: Sweetener Effect on Chocolate Texture

Gum Hardness Testing by Spherical Probe Penetration Method

The 6.35 mm ball probe can be used for a number of different products.

It is typically used in situations where the sample being tested is not consistent or is not completely flat. The round shape of the probe allows for a consistent force to evenly be applied across the surface of the sample. When fitted to one of the TMS texture analyzers, this probe can be very helpful in determining several textural properties.

This particular test was for the hardness/firmness of a chewing gum product. Several small penetrations were done in to the gum and then an average was taken by the TL Pro software.

This will give the processor an indication on the hardness of the sample that can be related to both processing parameters and consumer sensory panels.

Food Technology Systems:TMS-Pro Computer Controlled Texture Analyzer

Case Study: Strength of Chewing Gum

Jam Firmness and Flow Characteristics Testing by Back Extrusion Method

Many products that are in a semi-solid form (such as jelly, jam, yogurt, etc.) are said to flow, meaning the parts of the product will spread out if not held by a container.

Semi-solid products are special as they exhibit traits of both solid and liquid states. Because of this ability to flow, semi-solid products are often treated as liquids in processing, using pumps and piping to move the product throughout the process.

It is important for the processors to be able to understand this characteristic, not only in regards to quality but also as it directly relates to the actual process.

The TMS Pro Texture analyzer can be fitted with an array of attachments that simulate the flow of a product.

Whether it is the dual extrusion cell or just a simple cylinder paired with a standard sample cup, the principle is the same. Force is applied to the product, which flows around the plunger/cylinder as it moves down. The more force required, the more resistant to flow the product is said to be.

Food Technology Systems: TMS-Pro Computer controlled texture analyzer

Licorice Firmness Testing by Large Knife Shear Method

Where certain confection products fall on the hardness/softness scale can be a key indicator of quality. This is especially true when comparing texture variations of the same product. Due to changes in raw ingredients, formulation and processing methods are often adjusted in order produce a product that has a consistent desirable texture.

The ability to objectively measure how these changes affect the final product is very important. For licorice firmness quality, a shear test was most appropriate. A small sample was placed on the texture analyzer and cut through using the large knife edge fixture. At the conclusion of the test, the software was used to calculate the force needed to cut through each sample.

This force directly correlates with the hardness of the sample and can be used by the processor to maintain a consistent texture for its confectionery.

Food Technology Systems: TMS-Pro Computer-Controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Case Study: Licorice Firmness

Marshmallow Firmness Testing by Compression Platen Method

Many products require only a simple compression test to measure the desired textural attribute. For candy corn, a 75 mm compression plate was used to test the samples.

This very simple test compressed each sample to a certain distance. At the conclusion of the test, the software was used to make calculations on the force/distance curve.

For this product, only the peak force (hardness/firmness) was needed to differentiate between “good” and “bad” samples. Using this information, producers should be able to control certain aspects of their processing based on objective texture data from the texture analyzer.

Food Technology Systems: TMS Pro Computer Controlled and Touch Texture Analyzers

Case Study: Marshmallow Softness