Leatherhead members back food quality study

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Shelf life

Leatherhead Food Research has revealed six research projects chosen by its members for 2010-2011, with strongest support for a study into freshness and food quality indicators.

The top vote-winning study proposes to examine measurable indicators of food quality and safety, the effectiveness of best-before and use-by dates, and poll consumers about their perceptions of food freshness to compare with published definitions of freshness.

The organization said that the call for research into food safety and quality was particularly timely, as consumers have become increasingly aware of excessive food wastage. The UK’s environment minister Hilary Benn made headlines in the summer, for instance, when he encouraged consumers to ignore best before dates and judge for themselves whether food was still good to eat. In addition, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducted a survey tracking consumer attitudes to food safety in September in which ten per cent of respondents said, without prompting, that they thought best before dates were an area of concern.

Leatherhead's chief executive Dr Paul Berryman said: “This year members voted strongly for research into shelf life of products – which is particularly important in light of recent debates on food waste reduction and the long term security of the food chain.”

The research programme consists of six projects lasting 18 months to two years, to result in publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Berryman added: “At Leatherhead we are continuously improving our track record of innovative research in the areas of nutrition, food safety and new product development. My thanks go out to all the voters and especially to our dedicated Research Committee members from industry. They ensure that our research is relevant and useful to food companies."

The other projects chosen by members include: looking at the effects of chewing on the sensory properties of confectionery; the effects of cereal fibre on heart health; how different ingredients in a product’s formulation affect emulsification; aeration technologies and their effects on product characteristics; and research into the key factors for consumer satisfaction.

Spokesperson for Leatherhead Marc Esselen told FoodNavigator.com that of its 1,000 members, well over 50 per cent took part in the vote.

Related topics: Science, Food labelling

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