Acceptable food products processed from underutilized crop
F.O. Habwe, M.K. Walingo, and I.J. Jondiko
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Underutilized crops are rich in micronutrients but are only cultivated at subsistence level (1). Food processing technologies, particularly at household level, are challenging and often not applicable to traditional crops (2). Perishability and poor processing are among major constraints facing thier production in developing countries (3). Improved dietary diversity, diet modification and appropriate food processing technologies of micronutrient rich crops are among the long term strategies that could help eradicate or minimize micronutrient malnutrition (4). Processing of underutilized crops into acceptable food products can improve their exploitation. Snack foods like noodles, cookies and crackers are widely adapted for every day use, widely consumed throughout the world and their global consumption is second only to bread (5). This is because they are convenient, easy to cook, low cost and have relatively olng shelf-life (5). Therefore exploitation of the feed value potential of underutilised crops to process crackers, noodles and cookies could increase acceptability and reduce perishability thus increase marketability and consumption/utilisation in the long run. An informal experimental study design was used to evaluate preparation of acceptable food products comprising of crackers, noodles and cookies from cassava (Manihot esculenta), finger millet (Eleusine coracana), simsim (Sesamum orientale L.), and slenderleaf (Crotalaria ochroleuca and C. brevidens). Product acceptability was assessed using organoleptic tests evaluated by a panel of 76 judges. Disproportionate stratified random sampling was used to select 19 judges from each strata; age strata (<18yrs & >18yrs) and sex strata (men & women) totalling to 76 judges/panellists of 38 females and 38 males. Tests by sensory panels were conducted under controlled conditions using appropriate experimental designs, test methods and statistical analyses according to the International Standards Organization (ISO) (6,78,9). Chi-square test was used to analyze the acceptability of the crackers, noodles and cookies across the study groups. The products were highly accepted as over 50% of judges/panellists liked all the food products. This study brings forth acceptable food products prepared from selected underutilized crops. Promotion could lead to increased consumption and marketability of these products. The crackers, noodles and cookies should be promoted and marketed in order to increase consumption and utilization of underutilized crops.