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New consortium research on sensory quality of meat alternatives

Cooperation between companies and Wageningen University & Research
New consortium researches on sensory quality of meat alternatives

New consortium researches on sensory quality of meat alternatives
The consortium‘s research will provide the food industry with insights to create tastier meat alternatives Picture: Symrise
Burger patties with soy protein, nugget with pea protein or fish sticks with Mycoprotein – consumers are increasingly switching to plant-based versions of popular meat-based products. But some consumers reject plant-based alternatives because they are put off by the taste and texture of these products. Several companies, including Symrise AG, are now collaborating with Wageningen University & Research Institute to understand how to improve the sensory quality of meat alternatives.

Appetite comes with eating, as the saying goes. After all, many factors, such as the texture of food, exist beyond taste and play an important role in creating the feeling of enjoyment as one eats. This and other topics form the subject of a public-private partnership between the companies Symrise, Goodmills Innovation, Nissin Food Holdings, Starfield Food & Science Technology, AAK and Vivera with Wageningen University & Research (WUR). The research will provide the food industry with findings on how to create tastier alternatives for meat products – a crucial step on the path to more sustainable nutrition with more plant-based products.

How do components that are released while eating influence taste?

Clearly, there is still a difference in the taste and mouthfeel of products from strictly plant-based proteins compared to animal proteins. For this reason, the Taste, Nutrition & Health segment at Symrise is working on this topic. “As part of the consortium project, we are looking into finding the relationship between the structure and the inherent characteristics of meat alternatives and are examining them. We want to understand how the product structure changes when people chew food and how it affects the perception of taste and mouthfeel. Our team of researchers can contribute their wealth of application expertise with this to enable customers to create great-tasting plant-based products,” said Katja Tiitinen, Sensory & Consumer Insights Director F&B in EAME (Europe, Africa, Middle East).

In addition, Symrise is supporting the project with the WUR, among other things, to understand the sensory properties of the products on the market and to optimize sensory impressions as well as flavor and aroma release during chewing.

“As the first team of researchers on this topic worldwide – to the best of our knowledge – the consortium studies how the characteristics of meat alternatives change while chewing by combining in vitro and in vivo evaluations with sensory tests. This research cooperation thus represents an important initiative for a sustainable lifestyle“, Tiitinen added.

For more information on the research consortium, click here.

Symrise AG, Holzminden, Germany

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