New food product development is nowadays directed towards creating food dishes and products based on consumer likes and dislikes. The most important quality trait of a novel product is satisfaction, sensory acceptability, perception, and acceptance of sensory qualities of new food dishes and products by consumers. As such sensory evaluation becomes an essential and indispensable element in the process of developing new food dishes and novel food products. Recipes for novel dishes or new food products should meet the expectations of a certain number of consumers in terms of consumers’ preferences, demands, sensory characteristics of a product, seasonality of ingredients, nutritional potential, the value of novel foods, and environmental issues.
The Capnutra team within the BioValue project developed novel food dishes based on locally grown marginalized food crops that are climate-adjusted and more environmentally friendly. Recipes of novel dishes containing selected underutilized crops were created. The main goal was to create nutritionally correct, well-balanced, attractive novel dishes that comply with a healthy diet but are also well accepted by consumers, and likely to be integrated into their dietary routine. Recipe design was guided by: physicochemical characteristics of the ingredients, their organoleptic and nutritional properties, palatability, existing and already well-accepted recipes based on similar food items, preparation complexity, geographical and cultural particularities with regards to food availability, culinary tradition, and dietary habits. The introduction of certain varieties of underutilized genetically diverse crops via novel food recipes and dishes contributes to the improvement of biodiversity both at the farm and on the plate.
Prototypes of novel dishes were prepared in the experimental kitchen at Maich, Chania, Greece. Each recipe was blind tasted, evaluated, and scored on its intrinsic organoleptic quality. The taste evaluations were performed by 50 participants attending Biovalue and sister project (Radiant, Cropdiva, and Divinfood) meetings. By the end of the year, several other sensory evaluation activities will be conducted in other countries including Hungary, Turkey, and France. According to the feedback, recipe design optimization will be performed to optimize sensory perception of the novel dishes to achieve satisfying flavor and aroma with appropriate texture and mouthfeel and to meet consumers’ preferences and needs as much as possible.