Motif FoodWorks announces collaboration to improve fat performance in plant-based foods

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Motif can exercise options to acquire or license the technologies. Pic: Getty Images/jchizhe
Motif can exercise options to acquire or license the technologies. Pic: Getty Images/jchizhe

Related tags plant based Dairy Food

US innovation company Motif FoodWorks, has entered into 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.

In the collaboration, Motif will evaluate novel technologies for formulating lipids and fiber-forming ingredients in plant-based dairy-alternative products that have the potential to enable taste and texture improvements in the fast-growing category.

Food producers have previously relied on existing ingredients such as coconut oil to replicate the sensory experience of animal-derived fats, but Motif FoodWorks said current solutions don’t taste, cook, or interact with other ingredients like animal fats do. The company said recreating the attributes of animal fat has been a missing link for plant-based food developers, and along with its collaborators, it will work 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 said it will assess promising technologies that aim to improve animal-free fats to make consumer favorites like meat and cheese alternatives.

This includes 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 cheese alternatives, 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 the 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 the technologies across various food forms.

“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 favorite 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.”

Related topics R&D