Symrise & WUR to research legumes and turn them into products with optimal taste and functionality

Explores how taste, aroma, and functionality result from the processing of raw materials and products
Symrise & WUR to research legumes and turn them into products with optimal taste and functionality
Photo - Symrise

In a partnership with WUR, Symrise’s Taste, Nutrition & Health Division has started the Pulses Optimized for Flavor and Functionality project. It covers the supply chain from seed to product. The project takes a holistic approach, bringing together partners representing every stage of the protein supply chain from seed breeder to end user. By joining forces, Symrise and WUR are making a special contribution to sustainable solutions that producers can rapidly adopt and scale up and are also benefitting the planet and people.

The food industry and consumers are increasingly looking for protein sources from legumes, such as peas and faba beans. They want them to replace animal protein in alternative meat and dairy products. They also want this product (ingredients) to come from responsibly sourced and processed raw materials. The Symrise and Wageningen team and partners build a comprehensive ecosystem to cover this demand. It ranges from seed production to securing consumer acceptance of improved meat and dairy alternatives.

The project aims to contribute to the alternative protein transition by breeding pulses for optimal flavor and functionality. The species the project focuses on grows well in the European climate. They also work well as protein sources for human consumption. And they produce a relatively high yield and fix the soil’s nitrogen content. These factors make legumes and certain pulses with dried edible seeds attractive as protein crops.

Biodiversity through variety

The project investigates one of the major challenges of plant protein sources. Currently, legume proteins often lack optimal flavor and functionality for use in consumer products. This project sees Symrise, plant scientists, food scientists, and other partners collaborating to improve this situation by combining their expertise, specifically for use in complex foods.

“This investment by Symrise and the other consortium partners is improving product quality as well as supporting biodiversity by breeding better varieties of pulses like peas and fava beans. The project will enable the significant growth in the European pulses supply chain. It will also continue to drive the development of responsibly sourced ingredients that enhance quality and taste in the alternative protein market,” says Melanie stuertz, research & technology, Symrise AG.

The project also welcomes participating organizations including Emsland Group, GDM Seeds, Plant & Bean, Symrise AG, Unilever, Vandinter Semo, Van Waveren, Vion Food Nederland BV, and Westland Kaas.

A second publicly funded project with WUR, in which Symrise partnered, aims at developing an understanding of mechanisms driving flavor and texture perception of meat equivalents. It intends to apply its findings across the supply chain to improve the sensory quality of meat equivalents. This project also includes different consortium partners.

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