Contact us: Phone: +44 (0)1372 365049

Sponsored Innovation Feature - spring 2018

University of Copenhagen

Protein-Enriched Rye Bread
Good alternative source of high quality protein for older adults

By Xiao Song, Federico J. A. Perez-Cueto and Wender Bredie, University of Copenhagen

The development and commercialization of protein-enriched foods is a way by which the food industry can contribute to help consumers meet their nutritional demands, especially those consumer groups that require additional high quality protein sources such as older adults. Bakery products could be appropriate carriers of such protein-enrichment.

In Denmark, rye bread is one of the most popular and traditional main foods. Protein-enriched rye bread could be a convenient and healthy bakery product which has the potential to be part of the consumers' daily diet without changing their eating habits.

A study has recently been completed at the University's Dept. of Food and Science on sources of high quality protein aimed at older adults. During a recipe development phase, whey and soy proteins were chosen due to their content of essential amino acids, high biological value and protein efficiency ratio etc. In total fifteen prototypes enriched with different protein types, contents or applied with taste and/or texture modification strategies were examined through sensory descriptive analysis. Optimal prototypes with most appealing sensory performance were chosen for further consumer acceptance evaluation.

Consumers' acceptance of food products are influenced by contextual exposure. Immersive virtual reality (VR) technology can stimulate real-life environments at one location and thus can be used as a convenient and efficient tool for adding versatile contexts in sensory and consumer research.

In the consumer acceptance study at the Future Consumer Lab, University of Copenhagen, VR technology was applied to present a cozy restaurant context and a classic cinema context, which were chosen as congruent and non-congruent situations for rye bread consumption, respectively. A default ambient room condition was also included as the neutral context. During exposure of the above three contexts, seventy potential consumers aged 60+ tasted protein-enriched rye bread samples, with their engagement and acceptance data collected meanwhile.

Results showed that under VR immersed restaurant context, consumers felt more comfortable and had significantly a higher desire and acceptance for rye breads, compared to the VR immersed cinema context. Moreover, consumers are generally satisfied with protein-enriched bread samples in all three contexts. Protein-enriched rye bread was regarded as a good alternative source of high quality protein potentially.

All studies were conducted in the Future Consumer Lab at section of FOOD Design and Consumer Behavior, University of Copenhagen, and supported by CALM project ( and ELDORADO project ( It is part of Xiao Song’s PhD program.