A ‘Revolution’ in Texture?
by Donald E. Pszczola
Traditionally, texture has been under-utilized in food product development. Take sauces, for example. Other than formulating to a target viscosity, the deliberate design of texture is nearly always absent, noted Matt Patrick, Vice President of Research and Development for TIC Gums, Booth 7029.
Product developers are handicapped by the lack of an agreed upon language to describe texture. Developers are further challenged by the fact that texture cannot be “added” to a product at the end of the design process. But rather, it must be integrated into the development of a new product from the very beginning. The manner various food ingredients can be used to manipulate texture attributes is not always clear.
“All of this makes the food industry ripe for a new language that describes and makes texture a quantifiable part of the food design process,” emphasized Patrick. TIC Gums has been actively developing a comprehensive texture lexicon for describing texture and evaluating benchmarks for achieving the desired texture in a product. “Customers can use this lexicon as a starting point for their particular texture design projects,” Patrick explained.
The company is also investing in consumer research to demonstrate in quantitative terms the impact that texture design can have on the acceptability and likeability of finished products. “That consumer testing,” noted Patrick, “will be conducted with the results used in texture programs going forward.”
At the company’s booth, various demonstrations allow attendees to use this lexicon—as well as their senses—to discuss texture and their textural needs in product development. These demonstrations include three gels made with different gum systems for manipulation; three teas made with different gum systems with similar viscosities and solids; and three sauces also made with different gum systems with similar viscosities and solids. Attendees are able to participate in these demonstrations, sampling prototypes and becoming involved in texture discussions.
Also, at the booth, TIC will be giving out new literature describing several of its textural solutions. For example, a new brochure, Texture Solutions for Frozen Microwavable Foods, discusses how using gums and stabilizers can help meet challenges in moisture, texture, and stability. Other brochures focus on gum solutions that meet challenges in the production of icing, and the use and benefits of Fastir Xanthan Gum EC which offers a highly dispersible, fast-drying, consistent-quality xanthan gum. This new and improved gum in the Fastir line is making its debut at the IFT Food Expo.