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Healthier mayonnaise passes consumer taste test: Study

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 25-Jun-2009
Last updated on 25-Jun-2009 at 12:59 GMT

Rice bran oil and soy protein concentrate could be used by mayonnaise manufacturers to cut fat levels while increasing consumer acceptability, according to a study on its sensory properties.

Mayonnaise is made from egg, vinegar, oil and spices, and the commercial variety ordinarily contains between 70 and 80 per cent oil. But the authors noted that consumers have become interested in low-fat versions as they are increasingly aware of the adverse effects of cholesterol and saturated fat on their health.

The researchers, from the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University, chose to replace soybean oil with varying concentrations of rice bran oil (RBO) and to trade egg yolk for soy protein concentrate (SPC) as an emulsifier because of the ingredients’ “health benefit claims such as lowering risk of heart disease.”

High purchase intent

They found that study participants not only said they preferred the RBO/SPC-containing version, but once they knew about the potential health benefits of the ingredients, up to 77 per cent said they would be likely to buy it.

“Purchase intent of all flavored products also significantly increased once consumers had been given the information about potential health benefits associated with RBO and SPC in the spreads,” they wrote.

The study focused on 10 different product formulations, as tested by 360 untrained adult consumers who said they regularly consumed mayonnaise.

“Taste, mouthfeel, and overall liking were the three most critical attributes influencing purchase intent of these spread products,” the authors found, adding that higher levels of SPC (above eight per cent) tended to adversely affect mouthfeel and taste acceptability, as well as odour acceptability.

According to the study results, the optimum formulation range was 37 per cent to 43 per cent RBO, 4 per cent to 7 per cent SPC and 52 per cent to 57 per cent water.

Wider benefits

RBO, in particular, could have benefits for both consumers and manufacturers.

“It is considered to be on the higher end of quality vegetable oils in terms of its cooking stability, shelf life, and fatty acid composition,” wrote the researchers.

It contains high levels of antioxidants, including tocotrienols and phytosterols, as well as oleic and linoleic fatty acids, which have been linked to lower cholesterol, and it has been used in the US to develop trans-fat free shortening.

The authors concluded that pilot consumer and market tests of the mayonnaise are needed to determine the product’s market success.

Source: Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01203.x

“Sensory Optimization of a Mayonnaise-Type Spread Made with Rice Bran Oil and Soy Protein”

Authors: K. Garcia, S. Sriwattana, H. Kyoon No, J. Andres Herrera Corredor, and A. Prinyawiwatkul.

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