What are your research topics?
Plant-based food products can be developed to a level we could not even have imagined a couple of decades ago. Personally, I investigate compounds that affect the flavour, structure and nutritional properties of cereals and legumes, and how plant properties can be modified through processing. Utilising lactic fermentation and enzymes for such modification lies at the heart of my research.
Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?
The global population is growing, and current food production systems lack the capacity to respond to the growing demand for food. Climate change also poses challenges to the ways in which we produce food. In the future, we will be eating more plant-based products. To realise this transformation, plant-based products must be at least as competitive in terms of structure, flavour and nutritional properties as products derived from the animal kingdom.
My research is particularly aimed at modifying plant proteins and carbohydrates so that these requirements are met. I promote getting used to the idea that you don’t always have to eat a steak when an equal or better plant-based alternative is available.
What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?
Our food culture is undergoing a transformation, and this change affects all of us. The supply and consumption of new plant-based products is growing rapidly. I’m in my dream profession: my research contributes to ensuring that there will be enough food for future generations too!
Kati Katina is Professor of Grain Science and Technology at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.