Motif FoodWorks Announces Collaboration Aiming to Improve Fat Performance in Plant-based Foods

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Vegan Buckwheat plant based milk in bottles, closeup, brown background. Non dairy alternative milk. Healthy vegetarian food and drink concept. Copy space

Motif FoodWorks, the ingredient innovation company making plant-based food better tasting and more nutritious, announced an exclusive research collaboration and license option with the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, and Dr. Alejandro Marangoni, Tier I Canada Research Chair in Food, Health and Aging at Guelph and founder of Coasun, Inc. Under this collaboration, Motif will evaluate novel technologies for formulating lipids and fibre-forming ingredients in plant-based meats and dairy products that have the potential to enable unprecedented taste and texture improvements in these fast-growing categories.

Food producers have historically relied on existing ingredients such as coconut oil to replicate the sensory experience of animal-derived fats, but current solutions don’t taste, cook, or interact with other ingredients like animal fats do. Faithfully recreating the attributes of animal fat has been a missing link for plant-based food developers. Motif FoodWorks and its collaborators are working to close major gaps in taste, texture, and appearance that are critical to the creation of plant-based foods that consumers actually crave.

Over a 12-month period, Motif will assess a set of promising technologies that aim to improve animal-free fats to make consumer favourites like plant-based burgers, sausages and cheese more delicious, including:

  • Replacing saturated fat with an animal-free emulsion system that exhibits the physical properties of saturated fat at room temperature;
  • Replicating critical animal fat structures, such as the pockets of fat in meat products that produce marbling;
  • And improving the texture of plant-based cheeses, to be more meltable and elastic.

Under the exclusive evaluation period with the University of Guelph and Marangoni, Motif can exercise options to acquire or license these technologies.

The effort will be led by Stefan Baier, Motif’s Head of Food Science, and Dilek Uzunalioglu, Motif’s Head of Applications, who will evaluate the performance of these technologies across various food forms, including plant-based meat and cheese.

“Creating the right kind of fat structures in plant-based foods is one of the most significant — and exciting — challenges in the category because fat plays such a critical role in what makes some of our favourite food experiences so satisfying,” said Mike Leonard, CTO at Motif FoodWorks. “In our work with Marangoni and the University of Guelph, we will evaluate technologies with the potential to serve as critical new building blocks in plant-based food design.”

“Understanding how to properly structure fat in plant-based food is mission-critical for the food industry,” said Marangoni. “We are excited to work alongside Motif to determine how some of the newest and most exciting technologies will work in new food products to improve the sensory experience of plant-based meat and dairy on a broader scale.”

This new collaboration reflects Motif’s holistic approach to ingredient innovation, combining science, technology, and proprietary insights in new ways to unravel food’s secrets. The evaluation of these exciting new fat technologies will help Motif further its mission to make plant-based foods better tasting, more nutritious, and crave-able — creating new options that benefit consumers and the planet.

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