Ice cream: an approach considering formulation microstructure and eating behaviour

Santos-Murphy , Sarah Maria (2014). Ice cream: an approach considering formulation microstructure and eating behaviour. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Ice cream is a popular, yet complex, multi-phase/colloidal foodstuff. To understand how this complex microstructure influences the eating behaviour of the consumer requires an interdisciplinary collaboration between Chemical Engineering and Psychology. Thus, an understanding of how product formulation affects consumer preference could be derived and could possibly be used for either product reformulation or promotion.
Experiments explored and quantified the physical properties of the ice cream and how these structures translated into the sensory qualities within the human participants. This involved measuring the consumer’s preferences and the potential satiating qualities from different formulations. Destabilisation times of basic emulsions were also examined. The in-depth examination of the eating behaviour of ice cream used an universal eating machine. This showed, that regardless of formulation quality, the rate and total amount consumed remained relatively constant. This counter-intuitive result also persisted over repeated exposures to the product.
By manipulating the physical structure of the ice cream (ice crystal phase through temperature manipulation), an understanding of the limits of oral sensitivity, and consumer perception of an altered product could be gained through a triangle test. These “human” results were contrasted to “machine data” (engineering measurements) gathered in the laboratory. The ice creams differed most markedly in their tribological responses. However, overall, the human panelists were insensitive to these clear physical differences in the test products.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
T Technology > TP Chemical technology


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