12 January - 20 June 2016

Impact of shape on sensory properties

9 Oct 13

The shape of chocolate can affect flavour and texture perception, according to a study published in the journal LWT – Food Science and Technology.  The study aimed at enhancing the in-mouth perception of chocolate based on the shape of the chocolate piece introduced in the mouth.  Ten chocolate shapes with the same recipe were moulded into designs based on the palate geometry of 12 trained young adult women.  The subjects were instructed to let the chocolate melt in their mouth.  Sensory test conditions were restricted so that trained subjects did not bite into the chocolate shapes during the evaluation.  Texture and flavour properties of the different shapes were measured through monadic profiling.  Further, time-intensity was used to characterise the potential link between cocoa perception and the perceived melting.  Sensory profiling results revealed significant differences in perceived melting and smoothness.  There were smaller but significant differences in perceived cocoa, caramel and aftertaste.  The study highlighted promising shapes for future product development.  The ‘wing’ and ‘sail’ shapes were the most delivering in terms of flavour (high cocoa, high caramel notes and high aftertaste) whereas ‘round’ and ‘rectangle’ shapes were the most delivering in terms of texture (high melting, high smoothness).  A rounder shape could mean the chocolate melts faster than angular shapes, thereby releasing different compounds at a faster rate and affecting flavour perceptions.  It appears that shapes of chocolate pieces with good flavour delivery could be designed by combining two criteria: appropriate melting rate and an adequate open void volume, which is induced once the shape is introduced in the mouth.  It is assumed that appropriate melting should ensure the release of aroma compounds from the matrix and a larger volume for freely circulating air should facilitate the transport of aroma compounds from the mouth cavity to the olfactory receptors.

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