Edinburgh’s Food Innovation Institute – what does it do?

I was recently out at the Midlothian Innovation Centre and discovered that there is a ‘Food Innovation Institute’ based there boasting a laboratory and sensory suite and I was really curious as to what occurs at such an interesting sounding place – so naturally I went along to check it out! I spent a fascinating hour or so with the Director, Dave Miskin but could easily have stayed all afternoon talking food science!

 What do they do there? Well, it seems Dave actually does quite a lot, including taste testings for major brands, scientific tests to check cooking guidelines on product packaging and testing ingredients in food products to help determine anything from shelf life to taste and texture. Me being me I was very keen to take part in a taste test

Dave set me up in front of a computer in the sensory suite and 3 numbered pots containing samples of a ‘rich-tea’ biscuit were placed in front of me along with a glass of water and some dry crackers and I was left to follow the on-screen instructions. The initial information covered off my age, gender and location and I was then instructed to select each sample in turn and rate it on the following qualities: Aroma, Appearance, Texture, Flavour, Aftertaste and Overall Liking. Between each sample I was to drink water, eat the cracker and wait until instructed to move to the next. At the end I was also to rate my most and least liked sample.

After completing the taste test Dave showed me the results – interestingly enough when my 3 samples were revealed it turns out the one that I preferred was actually a ‘basics’ biscuit! (The others were from Sainsburys & McVities).

Clearly not one to just test food, he seems to get involved in the creation of it too and I left clutching a pot of Sea Buckthorn jelly, a recipe that he had been developing – Sea Buckthorn has a reputation for being an acquired taste but I have to say it went fabulously on my croissant the next morning (& the day after that too!)

& there you have it, an insight in to what happens at a Food Innovation Institute, I for one feel a little more enlightened!


To find out more:





The F2i is a dedicated research, consultancy & technology / knowledge transfer unit supporting the Food & Drink sector on a national basis. The F2i headquarters are at Midlothian Innovation Centre (MIC) with a laboratory and sensory suite, and a second office at SDRC, Horizon Scotland, Forres.
phone: 0131 440 9077
contact: Dave Miskin

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