RESEARCHERS at Manchester Metropolitan University believe they may have found a way to “sneak” nutrients into children’s snacks.
The team from the Manchester Food Research Centre, at the university, have been testing extruded snacks made from fruit powders against popular brands Quavers and Wotsits and found that the nutrient content was considerably higher.
And in taste tests with schoolchildren in Manchester, the fruit snacks scored a creditable four out of five.
Staff researchers Valentina Stojceska and Andrew Plunkett, and student Ruth Potter – who chose to research the project for her final year dissertation – asked children at Broadoak Primary School, in Swinton, to rate the appearance and taste of the samples on a scale of one to five.
The tangerine and apple flavoured snacks scored the most highly, with banana being the least favourite among the children.
Dr Stojceska said: “This type of research could help fight childhood obesity and make snacking more healthy.
“While it is too early to say what commercial opportunities this might present, there is currently very little information about this field and it will give direction to manufacturers in terms of producing this sort of snack.
“While it is too early to say what commercial opportunities this might present, it is the first time anyone has looked into using fruit powders in this way. It will give direction to manufacturers in terms of producing this sort of snack.”
Extruded snacks are those which are cooked, pressurised and then pushed out of a mould die which produces the particular snack shape. It is a short time, high temperature and low cost technology.
This research could lead to the first fruit based extruded snacks intended for children on the UK market.
Manchester Metropolitan University is a leading university for the professions and a powerful driver of the North West economy.
The University educates and trains large numbers of the region’s legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals. It enjoys an excellent reputation for teaching and applied research and is a recognised innovator in partnership working with its local communities. The University is currently investing almost £300 million in its estate and facilities.