The company recently conducted an application study where it used its TA.XTPlus Texture Analyzer to compare textural differences in candy canes, a common Christmas treat and decoration.
Determine breakage levels
Amanda Trombley of Texture Technologies told ConfectioneryNews.com: “Confectioners do not need to wait for consumer feedback to know that they need to make changes to improve their products. If your candy canes or other confectionery products are experiencing a high level of breakage or some other problem by the time they are in the consumer’s hands, it is too late.”
She said that candy canes tart out as a doughy paste with trapped air bubbles. Smaller bubbles help to form a more uniform the paste that is less prone to breakage when it dries, she said.
Texture analysis detects these variations and manufacturers can change ingredients, adjust kneading programs, pulling tensions or heating and cooling rates accordingly, said Trombley.
"Experimenting around with prepackage handling and packaging can also be beneficial. Finally, you can experiment with the size of your candy canes to find the size that best survives,” she added.
In the company’s application study, it used its texture analyser to measure the initial gradient of several candy cane brands including Nestle’s Wonka Swee Tarts and Hershey’s Chocolate Mint to quantify the stiffness of the canes.
The company said that manufacturers were pressured to make candy canes that were hard enough to survive manufacturing, packaging and transportation, but brittle enough to break into small pieces for seasonal treats.
Texture analysis showed that Spangler’s DumDums had the greatest peak force and had the second highest break distance, while Wonka SweeTarts and the Hersey Chocolate Mint broke at moderate distances and peak forces.
Compare rival products
Trombley said that the analysis could be used to compare rival products.
“If you want to claim that your products are similar to a market leader such as M&Ms or Haribo gummi bears but the texture between their products and the market leaders are very different, you can use texture analyzers to see this and make changes if needed,” she said.
Many confectioners are already using texture analysis.
Tromley said her firm’s customers included Kraft, Nestlé, Hershey, Ferrero and Haribo.