Three years in development, scientists have designed a method to carbonate under pressure a wide range of fruit that leaves the consumer with a 'fizzy' eating impression.
" We see great potential in this application and believe the technology can be used to elevate the food sensory experience for consumers. As such we're currently working on applying the technology to vegetables - tomatoes, celery, cucumber - with the aim to enhance the flavours for salad and vegetable dishes," Dr. Qingyue Ling, from the Food Innovation Center (FIC) at Oregon State University and lead researcher on the project told FoodNavigator.com. "The carbon dioxide brings no extra flavour, but it can enhance flavour profiles in a variety of food products."
Whole or freshly cut fruit is placed in a pressurised chamber at a certain temperature - depending on the variety of the fruit - for Ã‚Â½ hour to two hours where it becomes carbonated through contact with carbon dioxide.
"The key challenge facing our research was in the consistency of the fizziness - how to maintain and control the fizziness in a range of fruit that have different sugar and moisture levels," said Dr. Ling. We carried out trials on several thousand people over the past three years, almost 100 per cent of children preferred the fizzy fruit and over 50 per cent of adults, he added.
Government and consumer groups are looking to encourage adults and children to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as recent research suggests a healthier diet and lifestyle could potentially reduce the risk of cancer, as well as curbing the rising incidence of obesity. More than 10 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, and obesity has been linked to a range of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular difficulties.
Food makers meanwhile are hooking up with health ingredients in their food formuations in a bid to target the burgeoning market for health related food products. The 'fizzy fruit' technology coming out of the US could offer manufacturers with new opportunities to tackle this market, particularly, as new research extends to new food applications.
Ling commented that they have embarked on new research to look into the use of the 'fizzy technology' on ice cream, yogurts and canned foods.
on 9 July this year Fizzy Fruit, the US firm behind the new product, launched the fruit onto the US consumer market. According to Dr. Ling, the firm will promote the business through franchise agreements and is currently involved in discussions for moving into the UK market.