Meat-enriched ice cream? Scientists explore unexpected formats for older consumers

By Stephen Daniells contact

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The researchers prepared ice cream with a meat content in the finished recipe of 15%.   Image © Getty Images / Bartosz Luczak
The researchers prepared ice cream with a meat content in the finished recipe of 15%. Image © Getty Images / Bartosz Luczak

Related tags: Ice cream, Livestock, Nutrition, Milk

Deconstructing meat and presenting it in unexpected formats like ice cream, chocolate, and yogurt may help older consumers consume adequate levels of protein and other nutrients, says a new study.

The global population is aging. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA)​ at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 8.5% of people in the world in 2015 were aged 65 or older, and that will grow to 17% by 2050.

“This demographic group, with its unique physiological and nutritional challenges, present opportunities for industry in terms of food development,”​ explained scientists from New Zealand-based AgResearch Limited, the Auckland University of Technology, and Sport Waikato in the new paper published in the journal Food Research International​.

“The challenge is to create, revise and re-imagine products that elders could readily consume to meet nutrition requirements and address some of the common ailments associated with aging, such as loss of muscle mass and strength.”  

The scientists experimented with incorporating meat-derived ingredients into a range of formats, including bread, spaghetti, ice cream, yoghurt and chocolate.

“Presenting meat in unexpected formats under new product categories will undoubtedly encounter technical, commercial and cultural barriers, but the opportunities are substantial,” ​they said.

Formats and formulations

Meat-enriched prototypes were found to have significantly higher protein contents, versus the non-enriched versions. Unsurprisingly, the color of the products was also darker.

Sensory tests with consumers revealed that the overall liking or acceptability of the bread, spaghetti, and flavored ice cream were unaffected by the incorporation of meat, but the non-flavored ice cream and yoghurt were less successful.

Good results were also obtained for the meat-enriched chocolates with 75% of the 940 panelists tested stating they either “loved” or “slightly-liked” them.

“We have demonstrated simple ways by which meat can be incorporated into familiar foods,”​ they wrote. “The results are limited and preliminary in nature, but suggest the potential such products have to help elderly and other consumers meet their nutrition requirements. While many food ideas are possible in the laboratory, not all are practicable, and product development becomes increasingly expensive as it advances towards commercialisation.

“Therefore, future research should always start from a fundamental understanding of meat science, about how meat is structured and can be deconstructed, about how muscles, tissues and breeds of animals differ, and about how livestock farming and the meat industry can supply raw materials suited to these new, non-traditional, non-commodity applications.”

Source: Food Research International
February 2018, Volume 104, Pages 134-142, doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.10.033
“Novel meat-enriched foods for older consumers”
Authors: M.M. Farouk et al.

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