Food rheology: the science in your plate


You plate of food is a fascinating universe. You might not think such of it, but in fact, it is based on complex principles. Do you think that it just happens for your food to have the perfect consistency, the fluidity that allows the eater to swallow it easily? It doesn’t. And the expiration date on your yogurt is not a simple guess of the producer. In fact, it is backed by volumes and volumes of scientific developments, studies and accomplishments. It is based on intricate data offered by rheological measurements, case studies and experiments. Rheology is the study that analyses the flow properties under force. And your mouth is a force for your tasty food courses. So is gravity. And rheological measurements offer other insights on your aliments. But if you are not particularly concerned with these studies, the food industry is based entirely on them.

These studies are the link between the food industry, government and your health

As you might know, your jellybeans must comply with some strict regulations. Well, the government calls the recommendations, but they are mandatory. These mandatory standards include Standards of Identity, Standards of Quality, and a voluntary standard, found in specialised literature as a Standard of Grade. In order to respond to all these regulations, the corporations in the food industry must apply scientific methods of analysis and adaptations. Your food must have an expiration date, and the witty experts in analysis laboratories do their jobs. You yogurt shouldn’t be too runny, and the same analysis methods offer solutions. The producer cannot abuse preservatives, and with the help of these laboratories, they find the perfect balance. See? We told you that your food doesn’t just happen the way it is: almost perfect.

Rheological testing helps your delicious meal to have all the physical qualities it needs

Your food’s structure, composition, physicochemical properties, sensory attributes, they were all determinant factors that made it possible for it to reach your plate. Your food’s composition determines how safe for consumption it is. Rheological testing comes once again to the rescue. For instance, your food’s structure determines the physiochemical characteristics of an ailment. Hence, although it is possible to have two aliments with similar composition, depending on the structure the molecules have, they may have different consistencies, and different properties. Structure is one of the determinant factors that tell the producer that their merchandise is appropriate for human consumption, and they correspond with the quality standards in force. Think about that refreshing, sweet carton of ice cream you have in your refrigerator. It looks perfect when you take it out, right? Well, if you melt it and then refrigerate it again, it won’t look just as good, and it won’t have that perfect, smooth texture either. It’s all rheology, and you were unaware of it until now, probably. Although it’s composition hasn’t changed, it’s structure surely did by melting and refrigerating it again. Now you know!

Now you have the proof that in your plate lies more than “just food”. Now you have the proof that for accomplishing the perfect texture in your yogurt, there were necessary some solid hours of hard work.

If you want to find out more about rheological measurements or rheological testing, please click on the links here!

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