Food Properties

Make sure consumers like your food

A food’s final properties play a large role in determining a consumer’s experience with and acceptance of that food. For example, cream cheese should be easily spreadable, even if it was just taken out of the refrigerator. Gravies and sauces should be easily pourable yet still have enough structure to form a nice layer that stays on top of the food. Viscosity measures how easily a liquid flows, and yield stress measurements provide information about the energy needed to overcome elasticity in semi-solid formulations. This makes yield stress measurements an ideal addition to regular viscosity measurements.

Another example is the flow behavior of foods such as molten chocolate. The properties of the final chocolate, such as the look of its surface or its mouth feel, are directly related to the molten chocolate’s viscous behavior. In addition, the transport, filling, dipping, coating or dosing steps during production of the chocolate depend on a well-defined viscosity and yield stress.

In addition to pure mechanical properties, rheology can also help estimate the stability and shelf life of a complex food formulation. The stability of a system like food emulsions or food dispersions can be predicted by measuring the formulation’s viscoelastic properties.

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Video Spotlight: HAAKE Viscotester iQ Rheometer

Why do consumers prefer certain spreads for their bread?

Consumer acceptance of bread spreads correlates not only with the taste but also with the mouthfeel, pourability and spreadability of the spread. This influences purchasing behavior. Food spreads range widely from dairy products such as cream cheese to sweet bread spreads like jam to peanut butter, and they are available from many vendors. Food companies have to not only study their food formulation for processing behavior and shelf life, but also need to consider the sensory or end-use criteria.

Most spreadable foods are viscoelastic materials. Their textural characteristics, such as spreadability, are a measure of how easily and uniformly the spread can be formed at the temperature at which the customer uses them. Rheological investigation of yield stress and yield strain using the Thermo Scientific™ HAAKE™ Viscotester™ iQ Rheometer with a vane rotor setup is a quick, simple and accurate approach to help food scientists understand spreadability and consumer acceptance of food spreads.

 Read the application note