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Jazzing up the carrot

New designer carrots are more than just a smart palette of colours. Scientists at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Aarhus are designing vegetables that combine positive sensory experiences with nutritious properties.

The good old carrot may soon be a thing of the past. Because now it can be designed. The new trendy carrot may be coloured mauve, contain lots of nutritious compounds and taste extra sweet. It is just a question of pressing the right buttons.

With carrots as ‘guinea pigs’, scientists from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Aarhus investigate how you can design vegetables in which taste, smell, colour and nutrition combine to form a higher unity. Because it should be both healthy and fun to eat six a day (“6 a day” is the slogan used by the Ministry of Family and Consumer Affairs to encourage Danes to eat more fruit and vegetables).

- In order to encourage consumers to eat more fruit and vegetables it is important that there is variation in the healthy foods on offer and that they both look and taste good. Today a carrot may not necessarily be orange. It may be red, mauve, white or yellow and it can taste quite different from the orange root vegetable that we are used to, says PhD student Stine Kreutzmann from the Department of Food Science.

She studies the connection between taste, smell and composition of vegetables and how those qualities affect their eating quality.

- It is important that consumers are able to find vegetables they like. Otherwise they will not eat them and then they do not benefit from their nutritious qualities, says Stine Kreutzmann.

Research into healthy and appetizing vegetables is a hit with Hans Chr. Schmidt, the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. The ministry has just launched the project “The taste of Denmark” with the aim of widening the assortment of quality food products available to consumers. The desire is to focus on diversity in the range of foods on offer and on making food consumption a tasty, fragrant and pleasurable experience.

- Foods should be healthy and safe but also inviting. We need more Danish high quality foods and local specialities on the shelves so that consumers have a wider choice of foods – and will therefore be persuaded to spend more money on food, says Hans Chr. Schmidt.

For further information please contact:
PhD student Stine Kreutzmann, Dept. of Food Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Aarhus, Telefone: +45 8999 3413, e-mail: [email protected]

Tuesday 20 March 2007 | Communication Unit