Science Shorts: Mars' predictive tech, iSense's flavour profiling, Ajinomoto's umami study and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

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Mars' predictive tech, iSense's flavour profiling, Ajinomoto's umami study and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts. ©Getty Images
Mars' predictive tech, iSense's flavour profiling, Ajinomoto's umami study and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts. ©Getty Images

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Mars' predictive tech, iSense's flavour profiling, Ajinomoto's umami study and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts.

‘360-degree view’: Mars Australia taps predictive tech to accelerate post-COVID consumer understanding and NPD

Mars Australia has stepped up its use of predictive technology and big data to boost its understanding of post-COVID-19 consumer purchasing behaviour, as well as accelerate its new product development and innovations.

Mars Australia is partnering with data and consultancy firm IRI for this, using the latter’s data and analytics to build its own Revenue Growth Management (RGM) platform which when completed will guide the confectionary giant in the various aspects of sales, marketing, new product development and more.

“The Australian grocery market is more competitive than ever today. [The] relationship between brand equity and perceived value in the path to purchase [is ever more] important, and online shopping [in Australia] is also fast evolving,”​ Mars Commercial Manager Patrick Hughes said.

“[All of these changes] are disrupting the industry environment, so we [needed] to find new opportunities and achieve growth.

The Pantone of flavours: Taste-based profiling tech vows to redefine flavour industry and boost NPD

A food tech firm making advances in Asia is aiming to redefine the flavour industry by focusing on taste as a never-before-used parameter, which has enormous potential to help food and beverage manufacturers boost product development and productivity by removing the guesswork.

According to iSense CEO Mathieu Aste, at present flavours are being sold and defined based on artistry and anecdotes that evoke feelings – but not data – which adds a lot of guesswork for manufacturers who have no reliable base for comparison.

“Flavours today are defined by many parameters – their chemistry, their applications, their solubility, etc. – but somehow, not according to their most important attribute, which is taste,”​ Aste told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Amino acid effect: Ajinomoto study reveals umami may reduce stress in people on low-sodium diet

A study by Ajinomoto has revealed that the addition of an umami substance can relieve some of the stress caused by lower food satisfaction in people on a low-sodium diet.

Provided in the form of free L-glutamate, this finding may encourage consumers to make healthier choices without sacrificing palatability and lead to the development of food products made with umami.

Typically, people on sodium-restricted diets such as hypertensive patients have difficulty maintaining their diet due to palatability issues, which could lead to stress. Salt improves taste and palatability of foods, but also help preserve foods and aid in fermentation, making its reduction a major challenge for the food industry.

The addition of umami substances such as L-glutamate, an amino acid can help maintain food palatability yet contribute to a lower sodium content.

Next-gen plant-based products: Protein digestion findings could inspire new product development - scientists

Scientists have found plant-based meats are digested differently from animal-based meats in a human gut model and suggest that these findings may facilitate the formulation of a new generation of plant-based meat analogues with improved quality and nutritional attributes.

Conducted by researchers from China and US, a plant-based beef and animal beef were put through a simulated gastrointestinal model, and it was found that proteins and lipids were digested differently in both products.

One of the authors Professor David Julian McClements told FoodNavigator-Asia​ the huge movement towards plant-based foods for sustainability, health, and animal welfare was a reason for this study.

Light fantastic: LED technology prevents mould in strawberries and enhances phenolic content

An LED illumination technology has been shown to inactivate mould spoilage and at the same time increase certain phenolic compounds in strawberries.

In this study conducted by researchers in Singapore, China and Korea under Professor Weibiao Zhou at the Department of Food Science & Technology, National University of Singapore (NUS), the 405 nm LED illumination technology had a significant anti-fungal effect on Rhizopus stolonifer​ and Botrytis cinerea​ in strawberries.

The technology is commercialised by a Singapore-based company SafeLight, which previously tested its anti-fungal effect on tomatoes.

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