Influence of inhomogeneity in fat distribution in foods
March 2016 March 2020
Many foods, such as mayonnaise, yogurt or processed cheese can be considered composite foods, which contain fat. The dispersed fat phase is present as droplets of micron size, which are by themselves often not perceivable as distinct particles. These constituents however are responsible for the mechanical properties of emulsion-filled soft solids. As the dispersed droplets act as structure breakers in composite foods, the breakdown behaviour is dominated by the presence of such particles. It is known that the properties of the fat droplets have a major influence on changes in composite foods during oral processing, the perception and the mechanical properties.
Recently, it has been discovered that the distribution of those droplets has an essential impact on mechanical properties of soft solids. It is therefore expected that also the perception of food items is affected. If the influence of inhomogeneity in fat distribution is understood and if can be controlled, it might be possible to use it to tune the microstructure of the food and the accompanying changes during the consumption of the food. It also presents a potential strategy to tune liking of foods as well as a strategy of reducing the fat content.
The aim of the project is therefore to develop strategies of controlling inhomogeneity of fat and to introduce this inhomogeneity in a variety of foods such as viscous liquids (e.g. crème soup) or soft solids (e.g. cheese). Subsequently, the effect of inhomogeneity in the spatial distribution of fat will be studied with regards to the mechanical properties, the dynamic sensory perception and the oral processing.