Established in 2020 Sunday, December 5, 2021

Plant proteins to 'meat' changing consumer demands
Associate Professor Heather Smyth and Professor Jason Stokes. Image courtesy: Megan Pope.

BRISBANE.- For many people, nothing beats the taste and texture of a big juicy burger, but how do you recreate that eating experience with sustainable plant-based protein?

That is the culinary quest of University of Queensland engineers and food scientists as part of a three-year Australian Research Council project in partnership with US-based Motif FoodWorks, Inc., a food technology company on a mission to make plant-based food taste better and be more nutritious.

Professor Jason Stokes from UQ’s School of Chemical Engineering said attributes like taste, texture, and smell combined are primary drivers for consumers when considering a meat-free option.

It's not just the taste, it has to be the texture as well, so the team wanted to understand the mechanics that occur during eating and stimulate them in a laboratory," Professor Stokes said.

“People want to continue to eat meat but supplement their diet with a plant-based protein for environmental and sustainable reasons.

“They’ve started to demand quite a bit from the product, and want it to have the same characteristics as a normal meat experience while also being healthy.“

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation’s (QAAFI) Associate Professor Heather Smyth said innovations around texture mechanics were the key to creating the best plant-based eating experience.

“Are there different ways of pre-treating plant protein in a way that makes it behave more meat-like in the first place, rather than just compensating burger formulations with various synthetic additives?” Dr Smyth said.

“This might include fermenting them, extracting them differently or structurally modifying the plant-protein.

“Making the plant protein behave differently as an ingredient is really the space where we can have those breakthroughs, and already we’re seeing some interesting results.”

“Through this work with the UQ team we’re bringing together the physics and sensory aspects of eating,” Dr Stefan Baier, Head of Food Science at Motif FoodWorks said.

“This project will unlock the secrets of food to help us design plant-based options that live up to the taste and texture expectations of consumers.”

“We really have been leading this area of research for some time and that’s why companies like Motif and others have come to us in Australia, even though we’re a long way away from where they do their work,” Professor Stokes said.

“The landscape’s changed and people now recognise the challenges in food research, and they’re large challenges in terms of how we perceive food and how we understand food, and rationally design and engineer their microstructure.”

It’s a challenge the team will tackle with relish.

Today's News

October 12, 2021

Nature of unknown gamma-ray sources revealed

Life on Mars: simulating Red Planet base in Israeli desert

Oldest footprints of pre-humans identified in Crete

Ocean life helps produce clouds, but existing clouds keep new ones at bay

Plant proteins to 'meat' changing consumer demands

New species of mollusk discovered by museum curator

Tree-dwelling mammals endured after asteroid strike destroyed forests

Vaccines prevent severe Covid, even from Delta: study

Radio signals from distant stars suggest hidden planets

The complex dynamics of stem cell tethers and slings

The new-new kids on the block: hybrid lizards

How to better identify dangerous volcanoes

A cryptography game-changer for biomedical research at scale

Building out of concrete, but without pouring concrete

Detecting retinal diseases with advanced AI technology

New images lead to better prediction of shear thickening

Corrosion can improve materials' durability

Climate change may already impact majority of humanity: study


Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the ResearchNews newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful