Researchers from the Uruguay and Spain report that addition of National Starch’s Hi-Maize 260 ingredient at a level of 1.4 per cent was the maximum level that was acceptable to consumers before reducing the sensory qualities of the pudding.
“Although increasing the functionality of the food should not necessarily change its sensory characteristics, many times the addition of functional ingredients to food products results in changes in the sensory properties of the product which could lead to a decrease in consumers’ overall acceptability,” wrote lead author Gaston Ares in the journal LWT - Food Science and Technology.
“Usually, consumers are not willing to accept functional foods that taste worse than conventional foods.
“For this reason, one of the first steps of functional food development is studying changes in the sensory characteristics of the product as a consequence of the addition of a novel ingredient, and consumers’ reactions to these changes,” added Ares.
The new research provides important information to formulators, increasing looking at resistant starch for 'healthier' formulations, particularly in dairy products.
Tapping into health and wellness
Resistant starch (RS) is so called because of its ability to resist digestion in the small intestine, unlike most other starches. Instead, RS passes through to the large intestine where it acts like dietary fibre and improves digestive health.
Resistant starch occurs naturally in foods such as unripe bananas and cooked and cooled potatoes, but commercially produced RS ingredients have started to appear on the market in order to allow food manufacturers to incorporate the ingredient into their products.
This has provided the industry with another means to tap into opportunities gleaned from the growing trend for health and wellness foods, with resistant starch fitting squarely into the low-glycaemic food trend, as well as health product positioning such as prebiotic fibre and healthy digestive system claims.
The researchers formulated milk puddings with the high-amylose maize starch (HAMS, concentrations ranging from 1 to 4 per cent), and kappa-carrageenan. At higher HAMS concentrations undesirable sensory changes occurred, including roughness, rough after-feel and a floury taste.
In addition, a thickening in the pudding was occurred, and this coincided with decreases in creaminess and sweetness, said the researchers.
The results of sensory analysis by a panel of 50 consumers also showed that the optimal HAMS enrichment level was 1.4 per cent. At this level the ingredient “does not significantly modify consumers’ overall acceptability”, said the researchers.
Ares and his co-workers also noted a correlation between acceptance and the consumer’s interest in consuming fibre-enriched products, with the more ‘health-conscious’ consumer having a greater acceptability of the product.
“Considering the small convenient sample used in the present study, further consumer research should be carried out in order to evaluate the feasibility of launching functional milk puddings enriched with HAMS to the market,” they concluded.
The researchers were affiliated with the Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Instituto de Agroquımica y Tecnologıa de Alimentos (CSIC) in Valencia, Spain.
Source: LWT - Food Science and Technology Volume 42, Issue 3, Pages Pages 710-716“New functional fibre in milk puddings: Effect on sensory properties and consumers' acceptability”Authors: G. Ares, R. Baixauli, T. Sanz, P. Varela, A. Salvador