The company says the scientific testing method can complement unpredictable tasting panels and lead to improved stability and cost savings.
Science vs taste panel
Bart Cortebeeck, confectionery application specialist at Cargill, said that a scientific measurement on crunchiness had previously been absent.
“Normally it’s done by a taste panel. Each time that gives you a different perception, but there’s not a real value on it. We don’t have the same perception of a sweet every day,” he said.
Cargill has developed a methodology to measure crunchiness by acoustic testing. It analyzes sound in decibels, sound peaks (i.e. the loudest noises up to breaking point) and the time it takes to detect the first peak.
It allows the company to get the crunchiest gum coating it possibly can by playing with the formulation.
“The values will help us for defining the best ingredient….The more crunchy it can be the better,” said Cortebeeck.
Sweeteners used in coatings have different crunchiness values. For example, maltitol has a high crunchiness, while erythritol is less crunchy, but has many other benefits. Cargill says it is about obtaining the right balance of sweeteners and has specific blends to maximize crunch.
Cortebeeck said the method would cut development time and would lead to cost savings, which may vary depending on the application and production scale.
He added that the scientific method could achieve reproducible results that could enhance stability of products in hot countries, where crunchiness may be lost over time.