Particle Size Distribution in Flavoring and Flavorants

Effective use of flavoring brings cookies from edible to delicious.

The impact of flavoring or flavorants can be summed up by using a single letter a few times: “Mmmm”.

Foods we love rely on flavorings (or flavorants) to enhance their taste. These can range from simple salt and sugar to fruit extracts and complex mixtures of spices. Flavorants can reduce the costs of food processing while allowing a healthier diet. For maximum impact, particle size is important. Chefs and food scientists look beyond the name of the flavor and consider how it behaves during cooking and manufacturing. Much of this depends on particle size.


Processing of Flavorants

Like many materials, the material properties important in processing depend on particle size. The flow or water absorption during mixing and blending depends on particle size. Results of volumetric measurements (such as with a cup or when feeding with an auger) will depend on particle size since the bulk density of the material depends on particle size and shape.

Is "quick dispersion" valuable? Once again, particle size plays a role. Particle surface area since affects the speed of a dispersion or dissolution process. And particle surface area is a strong function of particle size.

Particle size can be rapidly determined with the LA-960 Particle Size Analyzer. Particle size and shape of larger powders such as spices can be determined with CAMSIZER or CAMSIZER XT Particle Size and Shape Analyzers.


Flavoring Appearance

Some flavorants should be obvious to the consumer, such as large granules of sugar on top of a muffin or blueberries within that muffin. However, other flavors, such as the vanilla should be invisible. Bluntly put, the eyes taste before the tongue or nose. Whether the product has expected uniformity and color is vital to customer acceptance. Since the eye has a finite resolution limit for visible particles and even smaller particles have scattering effects that affect product appearance, particle size is important to assuring optimal customer acceptance.

Figure 1: These eggs would not look so tempting without the splash of color. The spice powder must be big enough to see.
Figure 1: These eggs would not look so tempting without the splash of color. The spice powder must be big enough to see.

Download Application Note 175: Particle Characterization and Quality Control of Sugar and Sugar Substitutes (You need to be logged in)


Flavoring Shelf Life and Stability

Emulsion droplets with a wide size distribution will grow due to Ostwald ripening. Overly large particles will rise to the top or fall to the bottom of a suspension. This is important even for emulsions that are further processed. For example, it has been found that smaller emulsion particle sizes lead to more stable emulsions resulting in a better quality encapsulated product after spray drying.

For all of these issues, careful particle size distribution measurements can provide answers to vexing stability problems.

Figure 2: LA-960 data from flavor emulsion. The LA-960 can be used to determine width of the emulsion size distribution.
Figure 2: LA-960 data from flavor emulsion. The LA-960 can be used to determine width of the emulsion size distribution.

Download Application Data Sheet 119: Particle Sizing of Flavor Emulsions (You need to be logged in)


Texture, Mouth Feel, and Flavor

The behavior of particles in the mouth affect the texture and mouth feel of the final flavoring product. Larger particles lead to an inconsistent taste, that is less creaminess. Large particles also lead to grittiness. Interestingly, extremely large particles do not affect perceptions of texture and mouth feel.

Flavor is also affected by particle size. For example, smaller salt particles will dissolve more quickly and lead to a stronger flavor effect even as the total amount of sodium is decreased. Smaller particle sizes also enhances the perception of fat content.

Like with stability, particle size information can help address issues of texture, mouth feel, and flavor.

Figure 3: Soup ingredients are important to final mouth feel.
Figure 3: Soup ingredients are important to final mouth feel.

Download Application Note 170: Particle Characterization of Nutraceutical Products (You need to be logged in)


Particle Analyzers for Flavors and Flavorants

LA-960

The LA-960 uses Mie Scattering (laser diffraction) to measure particle size of suspensions or dry powders. The speed and ease-of-use of this technique makes it the popular choice for most applications.

CAMSIZER Dynamic Image Analyzer

HORIBA's CAMSIZER features dynamic image analysis to provide rapid and precise particle size and particle shape distributions for dry powders and bulk material in the size range from 20µm to 30mm.

CAMSIZER XT Dynamic Image Analyzer

HORIBA's CAMSIZER XT features dynamic image analysis to provide rapid and precise particle size and particle shape distributions for dry powders and wet dispersions in the size range from 1µm to 3mm.

SZ-100 Nanopartica Series Instruments

Industry's widest range and highest precision measurement instrument for Nanoparticle characterization.