Motif FoodWorks has announced partnerships the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to better understand and design the rheological properties of plant-based foods. Researching the rheological properties that govern plant-based foods’ material properties under specific conditions, from formulation and processing to consumption, will enable Motif to develop novel insights from these techniques that will ultimately improve the company’s ability to formulate better-tasting plant-based meat and dairy analogues.
“Texture is a critical piece of the puzzle in plant-based food—and consumers who are open to trying plant-based foods will only return to them if the veggie burger breaks down into a juicy bite with every chew, or their vegan yogurt is silky smooth,” said Stefan Baier, Motif’s lead for food science, in a press release. “To get these textures right in plant-based foods, we need to continue to evolve the way we approach food design, and that means looking at every single element that goes into the eating experience. Our research with UIC and UIUC aims to apply advanced rheological techniques to plant-based food formulation in novel ways that could uncover critically missed insights and unlock unprecedented possibilities for the texture of plant-based foods.”
The research with UIC and UIUC will be led by Baier in partnership with the leading rheology experts—Vivek Sharma, a professor in UIC’s Department of Chemical Engineering, and Randy Ewoldt, a professor in UIUC’s Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. Over the course of the two-year project, Motif will work with UIC and UIUC to research advanced rheological techniques from the fields of mechanical and chemical engineering and determine how they can be applied to plant-based products in new ways. The cross-disciplinary project will arm the food industry with novel insights and enable Motif to formulate ingredients with increased precision and impact.