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Licorice Firmness

Situation

LicoriceA processor of candy licorice was looking for a way to measure and compare their two types of licorice product, a regular licorice and a soft licorice. Current methods involve sensorial inspections which are very subjective.

This processor did not have a way to objectively measure the difference in texture between their two products. It was important for them to know that the products’ textures were different, and by how much, because for their customers, they want to provide two different, distinct options to choose from.

 

 

Method

Testing was performed with a TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer, a 100N load cell and a Large Knife Edge. We chose this shearing probe to replicate someone biting into the licorice with their front teeth. The program was written to start at zero, run down to sense top of the product before beginning test to compensate for the difference in height of the samples, run down at 350mm/min to 7mm, then return back to zero. The graph to the right shows a vast difference in firmness by the peak forces as well as the area. The regular licorice was more resistant to the knife edge thus the steeper upward slope and higher forces while soft licorice was very soft and did not give as much resistance.

 

Significance and Benefits

  • Quick and easy test that gives repeatable, objective results that are nearly real time with the processing
  • Allows for more concise control of textural attributes of the product
  • Reduces the possibility of downtime due to a product that does not meet quality standards