Storage Stability and Sensory Evaluation Of Soy-Fortified Staple Foods in Ghana
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (SIL) is dedicated to soybean research for economic development and the reduction of poverty and hunger by nurturing improved soybean value chains in Africa. Dr. Juan Andrade, University of Florida, is the principal investigator of the Soybean Nutrition Program and is leading the soy fortification project.
The Soybean Nutrition Program works to promote the consumption of soy to enhance human nutrition, food security and dietary diversity across Sub-Saharan Africa by promoting technologies that produce Delicious Inexpensive Nutritious Environmentally and culturally friendly, and Safe (DINES) soy products.
In sub-Saharan Africa, high poverty rates cause many people to consume diets concentrated on low-cost starchy staples, which are limited in many essential nutrients leading to child malnutrition and stunting. Food fortification has the dual advantage of being able to deliver nutrients to large segments of the population without requiring radical changes in food consumption patternsi. Soybeans represent an inexpensive source of high-quality protein that could be integrated into food items to increase nutritional value.
In Ghana, soymilk is an increasingly popular drink, but is primarily imported. One of the main byproducts from local processing of soymilk is okara, which is commonly used to make wet food for pigs. However, okara is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber, making it a potentially attractive nutritional ingredient for food products.
Andrade, in partnership with Dr. Francis Amagloh at the University of Development Studies, aims to explore fortification of commonly used flours in Ghana – gari (cassava) and tuo zaafi (maize and millet) with dried okara-soy flour and evaluate their stability (i.e. rancidity) under real storage conditions and conduct sensory evaluation.
The team is examining the incorporation of dried okara flour, defatted soy flour, and full-fat soy flour into the traditional staple flours. This includes developing a dryer that can be used to dry okara and process it into flour and conducting a nutrition composition analysis of the dried flour. Thus far, the team has:
- Conducted a needs assessment using focus groups with Ghanaian companies that can work with soy–based products and can provide wet okara.
- Acquired two different dryers and modified them for the project.
- Conducted two experiments to understand proportion of full-fat soy flour needed to fortify maize flour to improve nutritional value and prepare tuo zaafti.
- Evaluated the shelf stability of the flour stability of flour and conducted sensory evaluations of different concentrations and pre-treatments.
Next, the team will focus efforts on understanding the performance of the drying equipment while using it to dry wet okara. The team will also conduct a sensory evaluation of tuo zaafi fortified with okara with women populations.
Some aspects of the project are delayed due to COVID-19, but work remains ongoing.