Animal-free ingredient innovation company Motif FoodWorks will partner with The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane to test and identify new formulations to improve the texture of plant-based meat products.
According to Motif, texture represents one of the biggest sensory gaps between current plant-based meat and their animal-derived counterparts, and the most significant challenge facing brands hoping to win over consumers in today’s crowded market.
The partnership aims to arm Motif with insights it can apply to its ingredient discovery process and in turn, help its customers build better products that meet the texture expectations of consumers.
Motif’s food science lead, Stefan Baier, will head the three-year initiative internally alongside Motif food scientists as well as academics in food oral processing and sensory evaluation at UQ.
“Typically, when formulating new products, food scientists rely solely on in vivo testing, depending on trained sensory panelists to tell them how well a new product simulates the traditional version,” said Baier.
“This process can be expensive, time-consuming and often subjective, since perceptions can vary based on factors like a person’s saliva flow rate and composition.”
Mike Leonard, CTO at Motif FoodWorks, said: “The University of Queensland’s research in oral processing and sensory evaluation is unparalleled, and our work together will provide direct benefit to our customers and to consumers looking for better plant-based options.
“Getting texture right in plant-based foods is critical to consumer acceptance and ultimately, a factor that will set category leaders apart. It is Motif’s mission to help our customers close the deltas between their products and the animal-derived experiences consumers love, and we believe the team at UQ will help us get there.”
Last month, Motif announced plans to locate its headquarters at a 10,600-square-foot facility in Boston, US.
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