A $ 2.5 million laboratory to enhance the taste of plant-based foods and ingredients has opened in Adelaide. The facility is an extension of the University of Nottingham’s International Flavor Research Center (IFRC) and will be based on the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus.
Australia’s leading plant-based meat company v2food is a major investor in the project along with the two universities and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
The plant will use innovative flavor chemistry technology to help food producers develop plant-based foods with a better taste. Researchers specializing in taste chemistry, food and agriculture will be able to work together under one roof. The project will also include a new post-doc and PhD position.
Alternative proteins, meat-free substitutes and healthier iterations of existing plant-based products will be in focus.
Professor of food chemistry and IRFC academic leader Ian Fisk said the global coherence of the food supply chain requires everyone to work together to design sustainable alternatives.
“Sustainable healthy eating requires a rethinking of food ingredients and crops, new agricultural and food production processes and new packaging systems and new ways to market.
“Ultimately, that’s how we go about a step change for diets and more sustainable eating habits,” Fisk said.
The laboratories will be able to track flavor development and analyze the role of food ingredients in taste perception through their range of bespoke interfaces and flavor chemistry tools.
MS-Nose was developed in the Nottingham Laboratory and will be one of the critical analytical tools used in research. The team will use its artificial nose features to measure aromas while eating in real time.
Professor Rachel Burton from the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine said the project will increase the university’s research capacity.
Burton, who is also the university’s head of the Department of Food Science, added: “We are pleased to be part of this global approach to the challenge of producing foods that are healthy, delicious and part of the solution to a more sustainable approach. to feed future populations. ”
Fish said the team will explore many challenges regarding food compositions.
“When exchanging food ingredients or materials such as reducing fat, sugar and salt or replacing meat proteins with plant proteins, there are a number of very complex taste questions that need to be answered.
These include how to ensure that nutritious plant-based meat alternatives generate an equally appealing taste during cooking, and how to ensure that when they are part of a complete meal, they are a viable alternative for those who regularly consume meat, ” he said.