Structure strength / behavior as a suspension
Knowledge of the structural strength of food is important for predicting its de-mixing behavior and sedimentation tendency, for example. Food toppings such as salad dressings and vinegar often contain suspended herbs and vegetable pieces. If well suspended, this food mixture will stay stable without the consumer having to shake the container to distribute the particles. A stable food topping delivers the desired taste profile and appearance. Structure properties also give a food product the sensory properties required by the consumer, such as a flavor profile, the body of a beverage, the creaminess of an ice cream, the stickiness of a sweet, or the mouthfeel when food is swallowed. To gain insight into all of these properties, food materials can be tested and analyzed with the help of rheology.
Knowledge of the flow behavior is essential for predicting the processability and filling behavior of food materials. Flow behavior also plays an important role in predicting how the food structure will change as the consumer chews and swallows it. Flow behavior may also be influenced by temperature changes, from refrigeration or ambient storage temperature to elevated temperatures in the mouth.