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Science expert awarded for designing healthier, tastier food

13 August, 2007

Internationally acclaimed food and material science expert Professor Peter Lillford has been awarded a Visiting Fellowship with the Food Futures Flagship to design healthier and tastier foods.

Professor Lillford holds the position of Visiting Professor for the Public Awareness of Science at the University of York in the United Kingdom. His work with the Flagship will focus on understanding the structure and properties of foods and how to design foods with specific health benefits.

“The challenge is to understand how popular foods deliver their taste and health benefits, and how these can be maintained while modifying the nutrients,” Professor Lillford says.

“Using new formulations and processes, we can redesign high energy foods, such as bakery, meat and dairy products, to have a lower calorie content yet the same consumer appeal and the desired textures, tastes and flavours.

“This also provides the opportunity to reformulate foods and ingredients to deliver controlled release of nutrients into the digestive tract and avoid, for example, an unnecessarily high loading of fat and carbohydrate, which can stress the digestive system.”

Professor Lillford says.The development of food formulations and processes for controlled calorie release foods provides the Australian food manufacturing industry with opportunities to make a positive contribution to public health, slowing the increasing incidence of diet related disease and obesity, while still remaining competitive in providing the convenience and pleasure of eating, which we all take for granted.

“The research expertise available in Australia and the integration of capabilities across CSIRO and the Food Futures Flagship provide the right combination of skills to tackle the challenge of designing healthier foods.

This has the potential to make the rest of the world’s scientists and technologists sit up and take notice,” Professor Lillford says.

Flagship Visiting Fellowships enable scientists to join Australian-based researchers to undertake collaborative projects under the auspices of the National Research Flagships program. The program has been allocated A$97 million over seven years under the Australian Government’s Backing Australia’s Ability - Building Our Future Through Science and Innovation package.

For this Fellowship, Professor Lillford is based at Food Science Australia in Sydney.

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