Interest in reduced or no-fat foods is on the rise with ever increasing concerns about the obesity epidemic. However, reducing or removing fat from products has given challenges to food formulators by adversely affecting the sensory properties of the product.
New research, published today in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture suggests that using fibres from fruit, a by-product of the agricultural industry, can be suitable fat replacers without affecting the taste and mouthfeel of the resulting sausage.
"It is possible to manufacture conventional and hypocaloric cooked sausages containing fruit fibres mainly at a concentration of 15 grams per kilogram of fibre and obtain an sensorial acceptable product," wrote lead author Luisa Garcia from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid.
Garcia and her co-workers formulated traditional mortadela pork sausages with either a conventional fat content (385 grams per kilogram) or a reduced fat content (150 grams per kilogram). To the latter, the researchers added 40-50 per cent fruit fibre with differing ratios of soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre content ranged from 15 per cent (apple) to 25 per cent (orange), while insoluble ranged from 25 per cent (peach and orange) to 40 per cent (apple).
The researchers measure colour, and texture, and a 15 person panel evaluated the sensory aspects of the resulting sausages, including colour, texture, hardness, juiciness, taste and cohesiveness.
The sausages made using the orange fibres had odour values that exceeded all others, including the control sausages, but the orange fibre sausages were associated with a slight reduction in juiciness, said the panellists.
"It is important to stress that all of the batches were scored favourably with regard to overall acceptability, indicating that the panellists would readily consume any of them, independent of their fat content of the type of fibre added," wrote Garcia.
The results appear to show, said the researchers, that sausages with 30 per cent reduced energy content can easily be formulated without significantly affecting the sensorial aspects of the resulting sausages, with the best results obtained with the orange fibre .
"Therefore, it is evident that this is a new functional food product, hypocaloric and enriched in dietary fibre, ready to be incorporated into our diet," they concluded.
The study was funded by the Spanish Science and Technology Commission, while the fruit fibres were provided by Indulleida SA.
Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture Doi: 10.1002/jsfa.2753 "Utilisation of fruit fibres in conventional and reduced-fat cooked-meat sausages" Authors: M.L. Garcia, E. Caceres, M.D. Selgas