Taste and texture can't be directly measured, so you need to rely on “tasting panels” in order to gather information on prospective products. This is both time consuming and expensive.
Particle size, and more importantly particle shape, correlate directly to the taste and mouth-feel of food products. FlowCam can help you determine the optimum size and shape of the particles in your product, and then enable you to quickly analyze batches to ensure they meet the standard.
Ensuring Particle Uniformity in Barbecue Sauce Ingredient
The manufacturer of a barbecue sauce needed to quantify particles in a pulp from one of its ingredients to ensure they were relatively uniform in size and shape after mixing and homogenization, as it greatly affects taste and mouth-feel.
In order to isolate these particles from all of the others in the sample, a library of the desired particle type was built and stored. Then VisualSpreadsheet® performed a statistical pattern recognition operation, to automatically find the particles that matched the desired particle type. The image to the right shows the ideal pulp particle as imaged by the FlowCam.
The particle analysis concluded that 55 particles out of several thousand total were determined to be of the desired type. The FlowCam provides the concentration and summary statistics for the desired particles only, omitting the other particles in the sample. This same statistical comparison can then be performed on other samples for comparison, eliminating the operator bias and error found in manual microscopy.
Since many more particles can be counted in much less time, the statistical confidence of the results will be much higher. By using an automated analysis with FlowCam, the manufacturer was able to rapidly study the effects of several different variables in the manufacturing process, such as mixer speed, homogenization time, and temperature.