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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 8 July 2009
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To test the functionality of the omega-3 enriched ice cream, researchers look at how fast it melts and the texture. For sensory testing, they use other people to taste the ice cream and tell them how acceptable it is. The researchers need to understand the role of each ingredient so they know how to improve the product.

Transcript

Amit Taneja (Riddet Institute) 

We had two goals, two main objectives of the development. One was to see if the ice cream was different in terms of functionality, whether it melted quicker, or you know the particle size… the particle size of the actual mix was bigger or smaller than what it should be. Say, if the functionality was changed in any way in a food product, then we have to go back and find out other ingredients or materials we can use to overcome that. You have to know the behaviour of each component of a product. In ice cream, you have milk fat, which has a specific role in the whole texture of the ice cream, and you have glucose syrup, which has another role to play in the ice cream texture. So if you know which component is contributing to what in the overall product, you can go back and change things and improve things by adding something else.

The other objective was to see if it tasted OK, so we did the functionality testing first and then followed by sensory testing, which was a few sensory tests, changing flavours, changing the intensity of flavour, and changing the level of omega-3 added. So we did quite a few sensory tests, just to see what level is good, what flavour is the best, which gives you a clean product.

Sensory testing is a methodological procedure where you use human sensors to put a number on quality. Any industry would have to have some sort of quality measurement. So, in terms of food, it’s really done to put a number on quality and acceptability to consumers.