AnaFree - The aroma/flavor profiles of Freekeh, its market
acceptability, and utilization of its production methods for other Nordic-based cereals

Freekeh, a smoked immature Durum wheat product, is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and has high nutritional value. Due to a lack of knowledge about its flavor profile, opportunities to improve its quality and expand its market are limited. The objectives of AnaFree are to study its flavor attributes, evaluate consumer perception, and expand its manufacturing to additional grains in Northern Europe while developing new uses for it.

As demand for Freekeh is expected to increase, this research is vital. It will explore and exploit novel food-transformation processes for European grains, improve production techniques, and enhance consumption and manufacturing of Freekeh in EU markets.

The Europe, Middle-east and Africa markets dominated the market in 2018, while demand for Freekeh is clearly rising in EU markets, with an increase of 6% in compound annual growth rate expected between 2019-2023. The increase in demand is attributed to growing appreciation for Middle-eastern novel foods in conjunction with easy online retailing. The added health promoting qualities already frame Freekeh as a ‘Superfood’ in European media (comparable to quinoa).

Basic knowledge regarding flavor is a prerequisite when addressing questions such as quality improvement and food marketability. In light of the predicted increase in demand, the lack of supporting knowledge inhibits these endeavours and poses a challenge to EU industry and farmers that wishes to meet said demands for this healthy, unique product.

AnaFree collaborates with the GUDP-funded project BOOST on specified research activities. 


The main objectives of AnaFree are to establish and implement a platform for investigating the flavor makeup of Freekeh, especially with regards to the effects of manufacturing and cultivation practices, to test its sensory properties and consumer perception and to expand its production methods to European grains while generating novel uses for it.

The following four objectives are central in the AnaFree project:

  1. Characterize the flavor metabolome of Freekeh and its progenitors. 

  2. Describe the effects of agrotechnical and manufacturing practices on the aroma and taste outputs achieved in Objective 1.

  3. Develop novel food prototype products based on Freekeh and test its production method for additional grains.

  4. Understand the sensory properties of Freekeh during consumption, and its sensory appeal.



The research project will be carried out in four work packages (WP’s), each designed for achieving an individual objective:

WP1 – Generation of a comprehensive metabolome of the flavor makeup of Freekeh.

Using commercial Freekeh as a model, the taste and aroma compounds will be fully characterized using highly effective methods for measuring aroma contents of food items. The progenitors and sources of volatiles identified in this process will be determined. 

WP2 - Evaluating the effect of agro-technical practices and subsequent production methods on Freekeh quality in terms of aroma and taste.

Here the effects of harvest time, scorching intensity, milling size, and scorching method on Freekeh will be evaluated. 

WP3 - Exploring and developing novel foods based on Freekeh and their aroma/taste contents.

Collaboration with chefs to improve food quality is an important and innovative research approach in food sciences. In this WP, collaboration will occur with chefs, bakers and food-techs, and breeders to generate new products based on Freekeh.

WP4 – Investigate the sensory perception of Freekeh and evaluate its sensory accept.

In this WP, sensory evaluations with consumers and artisans/specialists will be conducted, using the commercial product (WP1) as well as samples/products analyzed in WP2 and WP3. The respondents will be asked to score and/or give verbal descriptions of samples prepared in different ways in terms of taste, aroma and texture properties, using appropriate methods.

Thereafter, a comprehensive association study will help to underline specific subsets of metabolites, descriptors and production/cooking methods that are favored by consumers.

Using these data sets and by consulting with relevant entities, a prediction for the acceptance of different Freekeh preparations in Denmark and nearby Scandinavian markets will be generated.




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Michael Bom Frøst Associate Professor +4535333207 E-mail

Funded by:

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AnaFree has received a two year funding from the European Union

Project: AnaFree - The aroma/flavor profiles of Freekeh, a Mediterranean green durum wheat product, its market acceptability and utilization of its production methods for other Nordic-based cereals
Period:  August 1st, 2021 - July 31st, 2023
Total budget: 219,312 EUR