Oat ice cream and oat yoghurt may soon be on the menu if researchers in Lund, Sweden fulfil their aim.
The EU Commission has decided to provide over SKr17 million (€1.87m) for a project, run by the Biomedical Nutrition department at Lund University, Sweden and the development company Ceba in Lund to produce new, healthy foods from cereals.
Oats are rich in soluble dietary fibres, known as beta-glucans, which, studies suggest, have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels because they are able to increase the secretion of cholesterol products via the digestive system. Additionally, beta-glucans are able to improve carbohydrate metabolism.
The aim of the project in Lund is to produce highly pure beta-glucans and assess their nutritional and chemical properties. According to the scientists it should be possible to use these beta-glucans in food products other than those usually associated with cereals, such as drinks, sauces, ice cream and yoghurt.
Researchers will also be studying which foodstuffs are suitable for the addition of beta-glucans, and surveying consumer attitudes to the new foodstuffs.
Food manufacturers, keen to keep abreast of the functional food trend, will no doubt be eagerly awaiting the Lund research results.