The experience of alcohol, without alcohol
Even though cross-sector collaboration is a core value in Denmark, it can be difficult for an entrepreneur, to imagine working with experts from the Danish research community. Nevertheless, this was the case for ISH when they initiated a collaboration with the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen.
“We knew that we wanted to apply for some money for product development, and so it seemed natural that we collaborated with the University of Copenhagen. Their researchers know a lot about the chemical interactions between molecules from food and beverages and the receptors of the mouth, which we need to hit the right taste”.
ISH had applied for a grant at the Innovation Fund Denmark to further develop the aromas and extracts they use in their non-alcoholic products to give the taste and aroma of alcohol. Victor Kirketerp, Chief Innovation Officer at ISH, has studied food innovation and health at the University of Copenhagen, and he therefore knew that the university had some relevant professors that ISH could draw on.
New projects on the horizon
ISH’s collaboration with the Innovation Fund Denmark gave them approx. DKK 800,000. Victor Kirketerp estimates that the field of sensory science on non-alcoholic products is so new that there is still a lot that can be uncovered.
“Before the collaboration, our supplier of aromas has developed products to reach the right experience, and this is a development that has only begun here in recent years. That is why there is still a lot in the area that we can continue to work with – for example, non-alcoholic wine”, he explains.
Wine and other kinds of spirits are also on the lightboard for ISH, which estimates that it will still be some time before one can land on a ‘final’ non-alcoholic wine recipe.
“The project was based on our RumISH and GinISH, and based on the process, we are now ready to develop the recipe further. But the area is so new that we will continue to try to further develop recipes – we are not ready to settle down completely yet if we can provide a better experience “, says Victor Kirketerp.
Product innovation and mutual learning
Around the whole collaboration, Victor Kirketerp emphasizes that the mutual understanding of each other’s work was important. By also keeping in mind what the researchers hoped to achieve, it became easier for ISH to navigate in the collaboration. For ISH, the project has been very educational, and they are soon ready to product test their results.