A group of researchers from the University of Queensland and University of Adelaide have created a new food source that is 100 per cent plant-based, with no animal ingredients.
Key points: The team from the Queensland and Adelaide universities, the Australian National University and the University and College of Sydney developed a food that is based on hummusThe food is made using a “muscle and plant-derived” proteinThe protein, which the team says has been “derived from a natural protein source” could help to reduce the environmental impact of meat, the researchers warnThe team at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Australian Centre for Science and Technology (ACST) have developed a “plant-based” food, which is 100 percent plant-like.
The team behind the new food, the Hummus Institute, say it could help curb the environmental impacts of meat consumption.
“Hummus is the best source of hummus around, in terms of nutritional value,” Dr Sarah Smith from QUT said.
“It’s also got a lot of vitamins and minerals, and we think it could be a really good source of protein.”
It all started with a simple idea, Dr Smith said.
Hummus, a staple in many Middle Eastern cuisines, is often prepared in a variety of ways, from raw meat to sauces.
“You can do a raw hummus with chicken or chicken breast, or you can add some spices like garlic or paprika, or a little bit of honey,” she said.
But Dr Smith is concerned that the hummus that is being produced today could be far from the healthiest, with animal-derived ingredients often added.
“We’re talking about a product that contains hummus and plant derived protein, so that’s what we’re talking to about,” she explained.
“And we know that animal products are a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions, so I think it’s really important to get to a point where we’re not making products that have those elements in them.”
The team has now been able to create a plant-free hummus.
“So it’s not a product made from plants, it’s a product where we’ve taken a plant protein and put it into a hummus, and that’s where we have our plant- derived protein,” Dr Smith explained.
Dr Smith and her team have developed their new hummus-based food using a process that allows the hummous to grow in a controlled environment.
“The way we’ve grown it, it takes about three weeks to get a crop out of the ground, but it takes five weeks to actually start the process, which gives it a lot more time to grow,” she added.
The Hummus Food was tested in a range of different types of plant-dried products and the team were able to determine which products were best suited for their product.
“What we found is that there’s a lot going on, so we’ve put some of the best hummus varieties into the product and then some of our best hummused foods into the food, and then we’ve added a few other things that we thought were important,” Dr Showers said.
She said the team had received a number of positive feedback from their trial, with a number who were looking for a healthy alternative to meat.
“Most of our customers said, ‘oh, I want to make hummus for myself, I need to have a way to make it,'” Dr Smith told RN Breakfast.
“But most of them said that they wanted a hummuse that was healthier, that had more protein, that was better for them and it was not just made with animal ingredients.”
Dr Smith said that the team was also looking into how to make their hummus vegan, but said that had yet to be decided.
“Right now, we’re working on that, and it will be quite soon,” she continued.
“At the moment, it is very much a plant based product, but if it turns out that there is an alternative that does better, we’ll be able to make that as well.”
Dr Showers is confident that the new product will be a great option for consumers, with the team already looking into potential new markets.
“When we think about making hummus from plant-protein sources, we’ve always had to make sure we’re making it plant-friendly, but now we can do it so it’s sustainable,” she stated.
“If we can make hummuses that are 100 per set, we can then put it out in a whole new market.”
Dr Schowers said the Humus Institute had already received positive feedback and would be happy to work with other organisations in the future.
“Our goal is to have the product out there for a few more years,” she told RN.