Taste of innovation

Many people are under more pressure in their everyday lives, and this means that ready-prepared dishes end up in their shopping baskets when cooking becomes too much of a burden on a Wednesday night. But what are the nutritional values in such food? What strain do our altered eating habits put on the production chain – can agriculture keep up? What about the climate and nature? And our health? A new research centre now focuses sharply on the foods of the future. iFOOD opened on 25 September attended by more than 100 interested guests.

2017.09.28 | Amalie Tromborg Thaysen

The speakers marked the opening of the centre by clipping red ribbons on pizza trays containing the iFOOD logo made from bread. Pictured from left are Professor Lotte Bach Larsen, Kim Kofod Hansen (Central Denmark Region), Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen, Sven Thormahlen (Arla) and Lone Ryg Olsen (Danish Food Cluster) (Photo: William Eckloff)

Following the speeches, there was an opportunity to go round the stands showing examples of the latest food research. (Photo: William Eckloff)

At the opening of a centre for food research, it must naturally be possible to try a taste sensation, and this was certainly the case at the opening of iFOOD. There were samples of different experiments with convenience foods for which the centre is responsible, including meringues baked with potato flour. At another table set with a white tablecloth, guests could try out their own perception of a sweet taste – what does it smell like? There were five different samples to smell, and guests could then decide which one they liked by writing it down and becoming part of the statistics. Right from its opening, the centre showed by its diversity that it covers a wide range.

Monday 25 September was the day that marked the opening of the Centre for Innovative Food Research – iFOOD. It is one of a total of seven strategic research centres being set up at Science and Technology in 2017. iFOOD is the fourth in the series, and represents an ambitious strategic research initiative with international impact. The aim is to ensure interdisciplinary research in a number of areas that are vital for society by gathering expertise and research facilities in a way that can accommodate both future research initiatives in Denmark and research strategies at an EU level.

Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen made use of the occasion to state the importance of excellence in innovative food research and production methods. “The world as we see it today is getting bigger and bigger, and this is causing a problem regarding food products. There’s a need for more food, but we still have the same amount of soil, and the available area is not getting any bigger. Establishing this interdisciplinary food research centre, which combines food production with food processing and development in an innovative perspective, provides a solution to this problem. The opening of the centre is an ambitious strategic project at Science and Technology,” he said.

The strategic research centres are being set up to ensure interdisciplinary research collaboration and collaboration with the business sector, the municipalities, and the regions. The idea is that the faculty-wide collaborations can significantly strengthen and highlight research where there is not only significant societal potential, but also an opportunity to build up internationally leading activity with a large volume of research and great societal impact.

Senior Vice President of Research Development Sven Thormahlen, Arla Foods Amba, very concisely and precisely outlined his dream for collaborating with iFOOD. “First we had the telephone. Then we got the iPhone, and the telephone was never the same. It’s the same with this centre – iFOOD. I have high hopes that it will revolutionise food research. Arla has chosen to be part of this research centre as we share many of the same interests, and we believe that this centre will be a milestone in relation to sustainable food production,” he said.

Centre Manager Lotte Bach Larsen was the last speaker, thanking the large turnout for attending, and providing her version of the further work at iFOOD. “There’s been successful collaboration between Aarhus University and the business sector in the area of food research for a long time, but because the issues are becoming more complex, there’s a need for more specialised research centres like iFOOD. This centre has a great desire to work together with the business sector because we know this is the way ahead. We’ll find solutions that make it easier for consumers to make the right choice in their busy everyday lives, and to choose products that are healthier, easier and more sustainable, because our vision is to create innovative solutions to global challenges,” she said.

 

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