3D food printing as a tool for flavour release modelling

by Marco Morgenstern, New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research

3D food printing offers potential for building a variety of food structures in a highly controlled way. Multiple materials with different consistency, flavour or colour can be included and distributed accurately in a food sample.

Texture and flavour perception of food is largely determined by physical processes in the mouth during eating. The way structures in the food are broken down depends on physiological factors, such as saliva secretion or dental status, but also on the mechanical properties of the food. Models exist to describe this breakdown and predict particle size distributions and flavour release during mastication.

To test a flavour release model we built a 3D food printer with 3 heads, with individual temperature control, and designed food samples with a variety of flavour distributions through inclusion of hard gels inside a chocolate matrix. In this presentation some details of the printer design and the window of operation for the material properties will be presented. Experimental flavour perception data are then used to link perception and structure to test theoretical models on food breakdown in the mouth.

Validation of such models presents the opportunity to design and 3D print customised foods for specific consumer groups or even highly personalised foods based on a person’s physiological responses during eating.

Marco will speak during 3D Food Printing Conference on June 24. The conference is part of a two-day AgriFood Innovation Event, with 4 conferences (focused on 2 tracks: food and agriculture), an expo, workshops, student demo corners, lab tours and more. You can find the entire program of the event here: https://agrifoodinnovationevent.com/program/

Interview

What drives you?
As a researcher I get excited when we can use fundamental understanding to build simple models to represent the physical world.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
Delegates will get a short overview of our research and the approaches we use to answer some interesting questions. I hope that it will inspire them to have some further discussions over a coffee later.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
There is a big trend to include more plant based foods in our diets. This means there is a search for plant based materials that are new or have not been used in food before. This opens up opportunities for 3D food printing where new well-characterised materials may give rise to some new applications.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
The impact of new plant based foods will be large (but slow). The largest impact will come when we move from imitation of existing foods, such as meat, to designing new foods and even whole new food categories that have wide consumer appeal.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Commercial success will be hampered by vested interests in animal based food production. Also, it is hard to move consumers in new directions.

About Marco Morgenstern

Marco Morgenstern is a senior scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research. Trained as a physicist in the Netherlands he moved to New Zealand and studied cereal foods processing, rheology and food texture. With the cereal industry he has applied his expertise in projects ranging from product development to process automation. His current research is on the link between food structure and sensory perception. He leads a team of scientists and technologist to develop fundamental understanding of food breakdown during mastication and its link to texture and flavour perception.

About New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research

Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science company providing research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and food products.

With over 900 people based at sites across New Zealand, as well as in the USA and Australia, at the heart of Plant & Food Research is a goal to underpin the growth of plant and marine-based industry through the successful application and commercialisation of research-based innovation.

Our science supports the sustainable production of high quality produce that earns a premium in international markets, as well as driving the design and development of new and novel functional foods that offer benefits to human health and wellbeing.

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