Leatherhead Food Research has launched a new research project exploring how food breaks down in the mouth, which will involve a lot of 'chewing and spitting'.
Project leader Persis Subramamian said: "We're looking at a two-year study starting in the middle of 2010 to understand how chocolate and sugar confectionery products break down in the mouth and how that affects sensory perception. It will involve sensory testing, instrumental work and microscopy.
She added: "In practical terms it's going to mean a lot of chewing and spitting followed by an analysis of what is spat out after different time intervals."
The results of analytical studies would then be judged against sensory testing results to see the correlation between what was happening to food components as they broke down and the experience of eating them, she added.
"We will be looking at things such as how an aerated product breaks down and what happens to fat in the food we chew.
"This study will allow a more complete understanding of the relationships between distribution of ingredients, microstructure, macrostructure, texture and sensory properties of confectionery products, during the chewing process.
"All of these factors influence consumer satisfaction. These new insights into the relationships will enable a step-change in product development."
Other Leatherhead research projects scheduled for 2010/11 include studies into freshness, shelf-life and consumer perceptions; cereal fibre consumption and vascular function; the effect of food formulation on emulsifier functionality; and the effect of aeration on product characteristics.