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Tan-colored hummus scooped in small plastic cups sitting on a counter surface.
Research is underway to determine if meat-based hummus can be marketed to consumers with an extended shelf life. (Photo by Kirsten Hollansworth)

FAPC studies potential of meat-based hummus

Friday, May 19, 2023

Media Contact: Kirsten Hollansworth | FAPC Communications Graduate Student | 405-744-0442 |

Many think of hummus as a blended chickpea spread, but an untraditional meat-based hummus with an extended shelf life is dipping into the food industry.

The Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center recently hosted a research project on the potential product. A group of survey participants gathered in a FAPC sensory evaluation lab to sit at isolated desks separated by dividers. The panelists were then presented with various samples of meat-based hummus.

Ranjith Ramanathan, associate professor of animal and food sciences, said there is not a meat-based hummus product currently available on the market.

“We are developing a novel meat-based hummus,” Ramanathan said. “Participants who are a meat eaters and hummus lovers have the opportunity to support research by making the product tastier and more palatable.”

Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern food, and the proposed meat-based, alternative version incorporates traditional lamb meat and innovative flavors. The possibilities for value-added products are inspired by consumer preference.

Meena Goswami, visiting scientist from India, said the goal of the research is to develop a new kind of hummus to improve the nutritional quality and extend the shelf life of the popular dish.

“This six-month project supports the continued research for exploring different packaging of hummus,” Goswami said. “Our three-step process focuses on optimization, decreasing listeria and extending the shelf life.”

Consumers enjoy plant-based hummus for seven to eight days once the packaging is opened and stored under refrigeration, but Goswami anticipates FAPC research will extend the shelf life of hummus to at least 15 to 20 days. 

“For the sensory panelists, the team of researchers prepared over 21 different samples with unique treatments,” Goswami said. “Participants were asked to select a final sample based on individual preference during the sensory evaluation. Different sets of samples were provided to 18 participants total in the study.”

The faculty and staff at FAPC are extremely supportive and always ready to help with new product innovation, Goswami said.

Ravi Jadeja, associate professor and food safety specialist at FAPC, said consumers prefer minimally processed products made with clean ingredients.

“As there is high consumer demand for clean labeled food products, we are investigating the suitability of natural antimicrobials and novel non-chemical agents to increase the shelf life of meat-based hummus products,” Jadeja said.

Darren Scott, food technology program manager, said sensory analysis can play an important supporting role in the development of new products.

“Feedback from panelists allow researchers to determine if there are noticeable differences between formulations,” Scott said. “Feedback from panelists can also help rank which formulations are more desirable than others. Having this information early allows researchers to adjust products before they reach the market.”

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.

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