by Carl Bramley, Product Manager Mecmesin Texture analysis of plant-based confectionery

‘Plant-based’ is a more appealing marketing label than vegan, and consumer uptake of these foods is on the increase.

These alternatives need to hit the sensory mark in terms of visual appeal, smell and taste, but also ensure they don’t fall at the last hurdle of texture.

Plant based alternatives to meat products

Getting a taste for texture

Replacing established ingredients can affect physical properties to the detriment of texture.

How can producers introduce plant-based alternatives and maintain customer acceptance in the confectionery sector?

Texture analyzer

Making sense of the science

Taste is subjective, but texture is objective. How hard, elastic, springy or sticky a material is can be explicitly measured.

A texture analyser is an instrument that compresses, shears, bends or penetrates a food sample in a manner replicating a human interaction - squeezing, snapping, biting, chewing - and measures the force needed to do so.

The resulting data are correlated to a human ‘expert’ or sensory panel who decide on ideal and unacceptable.

Texture analysis of confectionary products

Three flavours of confectionery test

What makes the confectionery sector’s products particularly sensitive to ingredient substitutions?

Unique and interesting textural properties are critical for the success of these constructed products, which often need to deliver on multiple textures in one bite. Already under-pressure to review sugar content, plant-based demands add another variable that manufacturers need to control.

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