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Savory yogurt may provide daily omega-3 dose: Virginia Tech study

By Stephen Daniells , 03-Apr-2012
Last updated on 03-Apr-2012 at 13:52 GMT

Daily consumption of a savory yogurt enriched with fish oil may provide consumers with their daily intake of omega-3, following tests that show consumer taste tests showing good acceptability.

Results of a consumer acceptability study published in the Journal of Dairy Science indicated that yogurt containing fish oil and flavored with chili-lime flavor ranked just as highly as flavored yogurt formulated with butter.

“Delivering sufficient heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids to achieve the suggested daily intake (145 mg of EPA + DHA) may be accomplished in a single serving (170 g) of savory-flavored yogurt, providing an alternative and easily incorporated dietary source for these valuable fatty acids,” wrote researchers from Virginia Tech’s Department of Food Science and Technology.

“Innovation of unsweetened, savory flavoring in combination with the powerful health functionality of omega-3 fatty acids and dairy components is of interest to a large segment of the health- or nutrition-aware population.”

Omega-3 market

The global market for omega-3 food, beverage and supplements was recently valued at almost $8 billion (€5.57 billion) by Packaged Facts. The market grew 17% from 2009 and such growth is predicted to continue, said the market researcher.

The US dominates with sales of $4bn (€2.78bn) in foods and drinks compared to $1.3bn (€900m) for dietary supplements, with much of the food and beverage figure accounted for by omega-3 fortified infant foods and formulas.

The US food and beverage sector is expected to grow 14.4% annually between 2006 and 2014, compared to 18% growth in the US supplements sector.

One potential addition to this market could be savory yogurt enriched with omega-3-rich fish oil.

Formulation and consumer testing

Led by Professor Susan Duncan, the researchers set about formulating savory yogurts enriched with fish oil (DenOmega) flavored with chili-lime. The yogurt was formulated to provide 145 mg of EPA plus DHA per 170 grams of yogurt.

Trained tasters described “lower lime and acid flavor characteristics in chili lime-flavored yogurts containing 1% oxidized fish oil compared with yogurts containing low levels of oxidized fish oil and low or high levels of butter and fish oils”, said the researchers.

On a nine point scale, where 9 meant ‘like extremely’, the average rating for both the fish oil savory yogurt and a savory yogurt made with butter was between 4 and 5, meaning ‘neither like nor dislike’.

“The upper 50% of responses for yogurt with butter or fish oil were 6.51 and 6.31, respectively, for overall acceptability (“like slightly”), and 7.02 and 6.56, respectively, for flavor acceptability,” added Prof Duncan and her co-workers.

Stability

“These studies suggest that fortification of a savory yogurt with 1% fish oil could be acceptable to a portion of the general population and have a potential market among health- and nutrition-conscious consumers,” they wrote.

“Oxidized fish oil added to yogurts, even at low levels of oxidation, was detectable by both trained and untrained panelists. This information is beneficial to manufacturers interested in fish oil fortification of yogurt because consumers may be able to detect products that have oxidized during processing or storage.

“However, fish oil-enriched yogurt is highly stable to oxidation, possibly because of the antioxidant activity of peptides released during fermentation.”

Source: Journal of Dairy Science
April 2012, Volume 95, Issue 4, Pages 1690–1698
“Consumer perception and sensory effect of oxidation in savory-flavored yogurt enriched with n-3 lipids”
Authors: M. Rognlien, S.E. Duncan, S.F. O’Keefe, W.N. Eigel

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