Among the textural characteristics of food like spongy, soft, chewy, flexible… crispness seems to be the most attractive and enticing. To satisfy diners’ craving for crunchy, crunchy foods, the food production and marketing industry has had to turn to scientists.
In 2019, the food website Bon Appétit used the word “crunchy” nearly 500 times to describe dishes ranging from salmon skin to the top layer of French toast.
Snack company Frito-Lay always strives to make its products crispier.
Diners line up to purchase crispy chicken sandwiches from the Popeyes fried chicken chain. Luxury restaurant Benu in San Francisco (USA) sells pork with crispy skin for up to US$325 per person.
Currently, food researchers have not yet agreed on the definition of such a seemingly simple term as “crisp”. Does that crunch come from the sound it makes, or the sensation it feels while chewing?
Researchers believe that brittleness is determined by ear. The sound considered to calculate brittleness is the sound produced when the structure of the food is broken (chewing, breaking, crushing).
Although they are both “crisp”, they are also crunchy and crunchy. In English, there are two words for crispy with similar meanings but different properties: “crispy” and “crunchy”.
According to Science ABC, “crisp” food breaks into smaller pieces after the first bite, but the pieces still retain their original crispness.
“Crispy” refers to foods that make a sound when first bitten, but then melt in the mouth and lose their original crispness.
And culinary acoustics pioneer Zatta Vickers emphasizes that the sound produced by “crunchy” food has a higher pitch than that of “crunchy.”
In terms of food science, it is important to distinguish between these two types of “crisps”. A crisp apple would be described as “crisp”, while an almond would be described as “crisp”. However, to ordinary people, both can only be understood as “crunchy”.
According to Bon Appétit, before food researcher Alina Szczesniak, no one had noticed the importance of food texture to the taste experience of food.
It wasn’t until the 1950s, when Szczesniak introduced a scientific category for evaluating food texture based on eight characteristics like hardness and elasticity—called sensory texture attributes—that everyone fell in love. Probably nodding.
According to research by Szczesniak and colleagues, among the texture characteristics of food, people like crispiness the most.
This love was formed in prehistoric times, when there was no fire for cooking food and drinks. At that time people knew how to judge the freshness and safety of food only on the basis of its crispness.
This experience acts as a “stimulator for humans to actively eat” and “plays a special role in human appetite and hunger satisfaction,” Szczesniak wrote in the study.
Researchers have proven that the sound of chewing crunchy food makes us associate adjectives like “fun” and “pleasant.”
When a person eats crunchy food, neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex vibrate like a bell.
A study conducted in 2003 by Dr. Charles Spence, an experimental expert on the digestive process and consultant to several food companies, also confirmed the role of the volume excreted while eating.
According to Mental Floss, Spence sat 20 research subjects in a soundproof booth in front of a microphone and ate a total of 180 Pringles potato chips.
The participants also wore headphones to listen to the sounds produced by the process of cutting potatoes. They were then asked if they noticed any difference in the freshness or crispness of each potato piece.
As a result, a piece of potato that makes a loud sound when cut is considered fresh, and a piece that makes a low sound is considered to have been out longer and is more pulpy.
From another perspective, using more force than usual to chew hard, crunchy foods also produces a feeling of comfort.
According to Science ABC, a 2009 study found that when stressed, adults craved sweet and salty foods, but not crisps. Chewing crunchy foods vigorously is a form of releasing pent-up energy.
Earlier, in 2006, a study examining the eating preferences of university lecturers when stressed had similar results.
The love that people have for crunchy foods makes food companies leave no stone unturned in investing in machines that measure crispness, taking care of design and advertising, and most importantly, making food crisp faster.
As shared by Frito-Lay’s executive chef Jody Denton with Bon Appétit, this snack company creates crunch through four main methods: finding the right ingredient combination, controlling humidity, paying attention to forming the shape of the product , and speed adjustment – cooking method. Frito-Lay maintains its crispness through packaging. The bags are filled with nitrogen gas to keep the chips fresh.
The next step is to invest in video advertising. Behind every advertisement for potato chips, there is certainly the presence of a sound team specializing in slicing potatoes, with a microphone placed in front of them.
After recording comes the audio editing stage: organize sounds into layers, balance bass and treble, or add reverb to create a slow motion effect. The ultimate goal is to enhance both the artistry and theatrics of the advertisement.
In the case of Popeyes Fried Chicken, mentioning crunchy food means mentioning the extremely famous Crunchy Chicken Sandwich. The important thing about this popular dish is not the taste of the chicken sandwiched inside it, but the crispy crust that covers the meat.
Each season, the quality of the wheat changes slightly, so Popeyes’ culinary team must regularly measure the protein amount in the flour and adjust the mixture until the highest crispness ratio is achieved.
With its natural musky flavor, this crispy chicken sandwich only needs one close-up photo for an entire advertising campaign.
Recalling the process of creating this photo, Tom Hamling, head of the creative department of GSD&M Company, the unit overseeing the campaign, compared the photographers and culinary stylists to a team that takes care of a piece of art. Beautiful people compete in beauty pageants.
When the sandwich lost the shine of freshly fried food, stylists applied oil to the areas where the light would shine, much like people apply highlighter to the cheeks when applying makeup. When there is no visible spot on the chicken piece, the stylist sprinkles crunchy fried flour pieces on it.
However, as sophisticated as it is, the technology behind mass-market food crisping like Frito-Lay and Popeyes may be nothing compared to that of high-end restaurant chefs, and less fun than cooking your own dishes. are also. Crispy at home.
(Tags to translate)Scientist(T)Toast(T)Sandwich(T)Food Company(T)Natural Musk Flavor(T)Cooking Recipe(T)French Fries