National Starch develops texture language

by Jeff Gelski
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ATLANTA — National Starch Food Innovation on Sept. 20 introduced its Texicon food texture language, which is designed to translate the consumer texture experience into measurable scientific terms. Texicon allows National Starch Food Innovation to help its customers quickly target and achieve the texture that its customers desire in a product, thus shortening the time needed for product development.

Consumers naturally use integrated consumer terms such a “creamy,” “luscious” and “crunchy” to describe the multifaceted texture experience of foods, according to National Starch Food Innovation, based in Bridgewater, N.J., and owned by Corn Products International, Inc. In-house sensory panels at National Starch as well as experts in rheology and materials science use the Texicon language to translate the visual, audible and oral consumer terms into fundamental expert terms that may be quantified for intensity, such as mouthcoating, viscosity and graininess.

The Texicon language becomes a tool in National Starch’s Dial-In texture technology, a data-driven approach designed to provide the shortest path to desired texture.

“National Starch’s Texicon language helps people understand the building blocks of a consumer-preferred texture in a range of applications around the world,” said Helen Simpson, sensory manager, National Starch/Corn Products International. “We now know that what a consumer calls ‘creamy’ is actually a multifaceted texture experience that results from differing intensities of at least 15 sensory and rheology attributes, such as mouthcoating, meltaway and oral viscosity.

“Understanding this gives us the ability to characterize various products by the specific, precise attributes that constitute a creamy experience in a product like yogurt and plot them on a texture map. Our texture maps position commercial products on a map with texture attributes as the directional markers so we can easily see the texture similarities and differences. From there we can help our customers target and achieve the luscious smoothness consumers want.”

National Starch Food Innovation introduced Texicon at the International Dairy Show in Atlanta. The texture language and texture maps were developed for a range of low-moisture and high-moisture systems, including baked snacks, dressings, barbecue sauces, yogurt and sour cream.
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