Wageningen Food & Biobased Research helps companies from the food industry to reformulate products. The ultimate goal is to market healthy and tasty products that consumers appreciate and accept.

Product reformulation is a complex process.  A great deal is involved in developing products with a healthy composition without substantially affecting taste, texture, shelf life or consumer acceptance. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research supports companies throughout the redevelopment process of products, from raw material via process to product, from implementation to final consumer acceptance. This is achieved by combining our knowledge on:

  • ingredient functionality;
  • physical-chemical properties;
  • product quality (taste, texture, shelf life), microbiology, process technology;
  • consumer research.

Thanks to this multidisciplinary approach, we can identify all opportunities and risks at an early stage, speed up the development process and properly match the reformulated products to the needs of the consumer. 

Product quality

The reformulation of products has an effect on product quality (taste, texture and microbial and chemical shelf life) as well as the production process. This applies both to reducing the amount of unhealthy ingredients such as salt, sugar and fat, and to increasing the amount of healthy ingredients, such as proteins and health promoting components.

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has the knowledge and research facilities required to scientifically determine the physical and chemical properties of ingredients in a product. This knowledge enables us to create reformulated recipes with product properties, such as texture and flavour, which are very similar to those of the original product. We use practical models, phase transition diagrams and our expertise in texture. We also leverage on our knowledge of microbiology and packaging to investigate the effects of reformulation on shelf life. When all the factors in maintaining product quality have been mapped, our expertise is combined with the customer’s process knowledge. This makes it possible to make adjustments in the production process and successfully implement reformulated products. 

Consumer acceptance

Companies naturally want to know the market opportunities for reformulated products. Entering the market with a reformulated product can be risky as it is difficult to know in advance how consumers will react. We help companies make more informed decisions by identifying the impact of reformulation on consumer acceptance. For instance, companies can have their products undergo physiological and sensory testing in our laboratories, supplemented by indicative consumer research among specific user groups. The ultimate next step is real life testing, which maps the actual eating behaviour of consumers. We offer home tests for this, which ensure that consumers can test products repeatedly in a comfortable environment. Furthermore, we can create real life environments in the Restaurant of the Future at Wageningen University & Research and on location in supermarkets and healthcare institutes.