Food and Drink Scientist of the Year 2020

03 February 2021

Dr Steven Muir - Agrico UK Ltd

Sponsored by IFST

Dr Steven Muir is working on a project with Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BioSS) to ascertain the genetic value of parent plants that will ultimately be selected for crossings, regarding desirable phenotypic traits. When a model has been developed, this will be applied to trial datasets on a year-by-year basis for several traits. The outcome of this project is a more streamlined timeline for conventional breeding of novel potato genotypes which will lead to financial savings and give Agrico a commercial advantage.


In December 2018, Steven completed a PhD project entitled: The application of sensory and consumer science to help inform decision making in potato breeding programme. This has led to Agrico adopting a robust sensory evaluation methodology and analysis. Evaluations have subsequently been carried out at Queen Margaret’s University and Abertay University, using check-all-that-applies and acceptability methodology. The data has been compared with previous datasets and reports prepared. Also, a consumer questionnaire to ascertain consumer potato consumption habits has been circulated. A success of this work is the introduction of the salad variety Bellanita into Tesco.