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Is Texture the Next Megatrend in Product Development?

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Foods and beverages without texture are boring, especially to consumers who are becoming more adventuresome and expanding their horizons in the culinary world. Consumers are taking time to not only enjoy their meals, but to savor each and every bite that a particular product has to offer, focusing on the flavors and textures alike.

A potato chip without the crunch, a soggy cracker or a yogurt that’s slippery all miss the mark, as products are often defined by their textural properties. As consumers become more food savvy, expectations increase. In fact, Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D., CEO, owner, Sloan Trends, Inc., calls texture the next megatrend in food and beverage product development.

Texture can be described as the next market differentiator, in part, because foodies are expressing interest in the textural qualities of products. These people savor their foods and snacks and strive to experience all that a food has to offer. Texture also drives flavor and implies freshness. Besides inferring that a product is better-for-you because it is minimally processed, texture verifies product quality.

Product designers are striving to create products with the desired creaminess or smoothness or to optimize the bite of crispy, crunchy foods. In dairy, texture is particularly crucial—according to Innova Insight Market Database North America, from 2010 to 2013, 25 percent of new dairy products used texture claims as a point of difference.

Texture development is not unlike formulation of other attributes—developers must look at the whole picture. A key element is understanding the manufacturing process and then formulating to specific process parameters to achieve the desired textural characteristics. Product designers not only must choose the right ingredients, but use them properly.

For a closer look at the role of texture in food and beverage products, as well as how to formulate with texture in mind, down the free Special Report, “Texture: Science & Innovation" from Food Product Design’s FoodTech Toolbox.

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