Soy snacks for malnourished Indian kids


Washington : Scientists have developed a tastier soy snack to tempt malnourished Indian school kids into eating the low cost vegetable protein.

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They have also joined hands with an Indian foundation to get the improved high-protein snack into the hands of 1.2 million hungry kids who need it.

Because Indians are avid snackers, Soo-Yeun Lee and her University of Illinois colleagues in the US experimented with nine soy snack recipes, besides improving their flavours and taste, says an Illinois release.

Those problems solved, Lee, associate professor of food science and human nutrition and colleagues moved onto the next phase of the project — consumer taste tests, according to the Journal of Food Science.

Seventytwo members of a surrogate Indian population in the Champaign-Urbana in the US area were asked to participate in a sensory panel.

Snacks that were crunchy, salty and/or spicy, and contained umami, cumin, and curry flavours received high marks from participants.

Panellists turned thumbs down on snacks with rougher, porous textures and wheat flavour and aroma.

The soy snacks were then given to a 62-member sensory panel recruited in Bangalore, India. The final formulation included chickpea flour, a staple in Indian cuisine that provides a preferred texture and flavour, and such spices as cumin and red chili pepper.

The scientists began working with Bangalore’s Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO that runs one of the largest school meal programmes in the world.