A new international food flavour facility has been launched at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus in South Australia, in partnership with Australian plant-based meat company v2food and University of Nottingham. Researchers from both universities will now join forces to explore the plant-based flavours and taste and sensory attributes of plant-based meat alternatives.

The new $2.5 million facility will expand the University of Nottingham’s International Flavour Research Centre overseas and bring together scientists across chemistry, food and agriculture, under one team. 

Professor of Food Chemistry and academic lead for the International Flavour Research Centre Ian Fisk said: “Due to the globally interconnected nature of our food supply chain, we need to work together to identify sustainable alternatives in our diet to ensure a safe, reliable supply of high-quality nutritional foods that consumers enjoy.”

Discussing the need for food scientists to take on the challenge of getting more sustainable, healthy, plant-based foods into people’s diets, Professor Fisk said: “Sustainable healthy diets require a rethink of food ingredients and crops, new agricultural and food production processes and novel packaging systems and new routes to market. Ultimately this is how we go about a step change for diets and more sustainable eating habits.”

Professor Fisk explained that the teams will particularly be focusing on plant-based flavours and the aromas created and released during consumption of plant-based alternatives “Flavour is a combination of the aroma (smell), and the taste of a food. When you interchange food ingredients or materials such as reducing fat, sugar and salt or replacing meat proteins with plant proteins, there are a series of highly complex flavour questions that need to be answered.

“These include how to ensure that nutritious plant-based meat alternatives generate an equally appealing flavour during cooking, and how to ensure that when part of a complete meal, they are a viable alternative for those who regularly consume meat. These are some of the challenges we will be exploring within our team.”

Industry partner Nick Hazell, CEO of v2food, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with globally recognised researchers with a wealth of expertise to develop our next generation of sustainable and healthy plant protein products.

“Our leadership and development team are looking forward to working closely with the Centre to accelerate knowledge creation, new product development, and advance the quality of delicious, nutritious v2food.”

The International Flavour Research Centre is funded by v2food, the University of Adelaide, University of Nottingham and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

READ MORE: Serving up healthy plant-based food research with new flavour facility  [Food & Beverage Industry News]