Professor and section leader Rasmus Larsen has just been granted 20 million DKR by the Danish Council for Strategic Research.
“Those who get grants from us are those with the best ideas,” says chairman of the program committee Erik Bisgaard Madsen.
If you have just once tasted a spoonful of grainy yoghurt you will be able to understand why it is so incredibly great that Rasmus Larsen and the rest of the team behind “Center for image analysis of foods” at DTU Informatics have been granted 20 million DKR for research. It is not a nice sensation. Yoghurt is supposed to be creamy and glossy, but the food industry has not yet found the solution to how the quality and process of yoghurt can be controlled in an economically suitable way. Dairy engineer at Danisco, Flemming Møller can testify to this:
“Everywhere in the food industry professional arbiters of taste are used. They are highly proficient but it is very costly to have ten persons called in 4 hours a week,” says Flemming.
Right now Flemming Møller is therefore doing an industrial PhD where the goal is to find a new system where the human tongue can be combined with photo information and make it all add up via mathematical models.
“In the course of a tasting session I take a long series of photos which each relate to specific statements from the arbiters. Together with information about the chemical composition of the product it provides very valuable information about the connections between ingredients, taste and looks. With the right mathematical models it can be systematized in such a manner that it will ultimately work as a manual. Should the factory later on have trouble with for example the yoghurt they will not have to call in the arbiters again. Instead they can use the manual and with it in hand they can discover where the error actually lies,” says Flemming Møller.
Flemming Møller hopes that some of the 20 million DKR will be spent on a new camera so he can take the next step in his research, but there are many others who need a share of the cake. Apart from DTU Informatics, the money is to be administered to DTU Photonic, food company Danisco A/S, Arla Foods A/S and Danish Meat Research Institute as well as technology companies Videometer A/S and NKT Photonics.
Rasmus Larsen, who is the primary applicant behind the grant, looks forward to get started:
“In Denmark we have always been leading in technology in the food industry. With this grant I expect we can find new concrete products which companies can bring to the market, so that Denmark can maintain its leading position,” says Rasmus Larsen who is professor at DTU Informatics.
All in all there were 125 applicants, applying for 1.3 billion DKR from the Council for Strategic Research. Chairman of the program committee and managing director of Agriculture and Foods Erik Bisgaard Madsen says in a press release:
“Common to all the projects is that it is cases of elite research. Those who get grants from us are the ones with the best ideas and the sharpest hypotheses. We are eating cherries with the big guys, in the sense that we are combining international expertise with the best Danish competencies.
Here is the list of the 18 projects who receive grants from the program committee of health, food and welfare of the Council for Strategic Research.