Symrise's Sensory Engagement with Wageningen University & Research Promotes Sustainable Living.

  • Jan. 20, 2023
Symrise's Sensory Engagement with Wageningen University & Research Promotes Sustainable Living.

Burger patties with soy protein, chicken nuggets with pea protein, and fish sticks with Mycoprotein — customers are increasingly opting for plant-based alternatives to their favorite meat-based foods. As the market expands dramatically, it also presents substantial opportunities for product expansion. Some customers are turned off by the flavor and texture of plant-based substitutes, and hence reject them. Therefore, Symrise has worked with Dutch scientists from Wageningen University & Research and other industrial partners. They want to get a deeper knowledge of how to enhance the sensory quality of meat substitutes and attract new customers.

As the expression goes, "eating stimulates appetite." After all, many aspects, such as the texture of the meal, exist apart from flavor and play a significant role in generating a sense of happiness when eating. This and many subjects are the focus of a public-private cooperation between Symrise, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), and other industrial partners. The study will give the food sector with information on how to build tastier alternatives to animal products, a vital step on the route to more sustainable nutrition with a greater emphasis on plant-based foods.

How do components produced during digestion affect flavor?

Clearly, there is a difference in the flavor and texture of items made from plant-based proteins and those made from animal proteins. The Taste, Nutrition, and Health division of Symrise is thus working on this issue. "As part of the consortium study, we are evaluating meat substitutes to determine the link between their structure and their fundamental properties. We want to comprehend how chewing alters the product's structure and how this impacts the sense of flavor and texture. Katja Tiitinen, director of Sensory & Consumer Insights for Food & Beverage in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said, "Our team of researchers can bring a lot of application knowledge to help clients to produce great-tasting plant-based products."

Additionally, Symrise supports the collaborative initiative with WUR in three critical areas:

Knowledge of the sensory properties of commercially available items

enhancing the sensory performance and flavor release while chewing

Providing flavor recipes

"To the best of our knowledge, the consortium is the first study group in the world to investigate this problem," said Tiitinen. "By combining in vitro and in vivo assessments with sensory testing, the researchers are examining how the properties of meat substitutes change when chewing." Tiitinen stated, "This scientific collaboration is a significant endeavor for a sustainable lifestyle."

The partnership is composed of Symrise, Wageningen University & Research, Nissin Food Holdings, Starfield Food & Science Technology, AAK, Vivera, and GoodMills Innovation.