Ryerson Alumni - Summer 2019 - 17

Consider texture. We're usually too busy enjoying what we eat
to really think about why we're enjoying it, but texture is a huge
factor, Rousseau says. He has worked with a number of industry
partners interested in replacing fatty ingredients with low-fat
alternatives, while maintaining texture. "They come to us because
of our expertise and our research equipment," he says.
With the incoming suite of CFI tools, his research group is
increasingly positioned to tackle new food challenges. "We are
about to welcome a unique instrument that combines high-resolution imaging at the nano-scale using an electron microscope
with spectroscopy to deduce the molecular structure of chemical
compounds. Understanding how molecules are stuck together like
Lego and the structures they form is a very important way to

design better-for-you foods," he says.
But it's not just about taste and texture. People can have any
number of reasons for preferring one kind of food over another, or
for avoiding certain foods altogether. They might be lactose or gluten intolerant; or they might choose not to eat animal-based proteins, for example. So Rousseau and his colleagues try to develop
foods with similar tastes and textures that people can eat. "The
growing diversity in Toronto means that the food industry is
hyper-specializing," he says.
"A perfect example is the development of meatless burgers or
vegan cheeses made from alternative protein sources. We're getting
to the point where developing such products is increasingly commonplace. However, the science underpinning such products is

Metabolic cart designed for accurate measurement of resting
energy expenditure.

A sensory booth in the Nutrition Discovery Labs where researchers measure
response to the smell, taste and texture of food.
Summer 2019 / Ryerson University Magazine

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Ryerson Alumni - Summer 2019

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