Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2020

Can we taste sustainability? 

Innovation showcase

By Nicolas Brinch, Søren Kloster, and Mathias Hedegaard, Engineering in Biotechnology, Aarhus University and PeaGo Foods, Denmark.

The demand for sustainable food is increasing each year with more and more people turning to a plant-based diet. And with good reason. Different topics such as animal cruelty and climate change are to be taken seriously. A common complaint from these people is the lack of products that satisfy all the sensory parameters. The lack of appeal is a hurdle that needs to be overcome before the wider population are willing to give up their dairy and meat-based products and therefore live more sustainably. However, we also believe the consumer’s perception of food needs to be changed and challenged by new tastes in foods.

We are three students at Aarhus University studying Engineering in Biotechnology, and we are trying to develop a sustainable, local and dairy-free yogurt. We have started a company called PeaGo Foods and are currently working on developing the perfect product. We face multiple challenges regarding sensory aspects, especially how to mask the taste of “bitter bean” – a common problem in the dairy-free yogurt industry.

The idea of our contribution is to showcase innovative, sustainable and plant-based yogurts versus dairy-based yogurts, and ask the question: can we taste sustainability? The practical element will be a blind tasting for the audience where we line up 3-4 yogurts from different protein sources and some biscuits and water to reset the taste buds between yogurts. After tasting each yogurt, they will have to guess which yogurt emits the highest amount of CO2 per liter and thereby answer the main question of our showcase.

Furthermore, we would like the participants to fill out a short sensory test where they are to measure 3-5 parameters, e.g. bitterness, “bean taste”, thickness, acidity and sweetness. The purpose of this is to see what different properties dairy and dairy-free yogurts have. Moreover, we will give the audience an understanding of the scientific approach to tasting and sensory test in the innovative food industry.

We think implementing the audience in tasting is very relevant and gives a fun, open and educational environment. It will be exciting to see, if they can guess which yogurt is the most sustainable based on their sensory skill and perception of sustainable vs. non-sustainable food.