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Research reveals effect of flax on acceptability of ‘functional’ bagels

By Nathan Gray , 28-Feb-2012

When it comes to bakery products, industry need not compromise on health and taste, say researchers who reveal that the use of flax could create ‘healthy, tasty, and convenient’ products.

Their study – published in theJournal of Food Science–reveals that the taste and texture of cinnamon raisin bagels is not as affected by the addition of flaxseed compared to other types of bagels.

The research team, led by Michel Aliani from the University of Manitoba,USA, explained that the addition of flax had no effect on the appearance, colour, and texture acceptability of the tested bagel. The authors noted that cinnamon raisin bagel“had significantly higher flavour acceptance compared to sunflower sesame and plain bagels.”

“This study showed that flaxseed aroma and flavour were detected in fortified compared to non-fortified bagels but bagels with this high flaxseed amount were still acceptable with the addition of cinnamon raisin flavouring,”said the researchers, who noted that many consumers now seek“functional foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids.”

“Commercial bakeries can use these results to formulate healthy, tasty, and convenient products,”said Aliani and his colleagues.

Fashion for flax?

Aliani and his team added that bakery products containing flaxseed – which is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA) – may provide health benefits for consumers.

“However, the effect of adding flaxseed, especially in the high amounts required for use as the food supplement in clinical trials (23% by weight of the raw ingredients), may affect the flavour characteristics and consumer acceptability,”they noted.

Study details

The researchers tested the sensory attributes of bagels containing 30 grams of milled flaxseed using nine members of a trained tasting panel, and by 89 participants using a consumer test.

They found that grain/flax aroma and flavour were significantly higher for the flax bagels compared to the non-flax bagels. However, they noted that cinnamon raisin bagel had significantly lower grain/flax aroma and flavour – and significantly higher sweet aroma and taste compared to the plain and sunflower sesame types.

“Bagels with flax showed a significantly lower mean value for flavour acceptability, overall acceptability, and frequency of eating compared to bagels without flax,”revealed Aliani and his colleagues.

“Although the presence of flax significantly lowered the flavour acceptability, cinnamon raisin bagels were rated higher in flavour acceptability compared to the other two samples perhaps due to a higher perceived sweetness in addition to the cinnamon and raisin flavouring,”they explained.

As a result, the team concluded that cinnamon raisin appears to be a promising flavouring solution for bagels containing ALA in the form of milled flaxseed.

“Bagels made with 23% milled flaxseed (approximately 2 times the amount in regular flax baked products) provided 6 g ALA, an amount high enough to test the efficacy of ALA in human subjects without causing gastrointestinal distress,”added Aliani.

Source: Journal of Food Science
Volume 77, Issue 1, pages S62–S70, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02509.x
“Effect of Flax Addition on the Flavor Profile and Acceptability of Bagels”
Authors: M. Aliani, D. Ryland, G.N. Pierce

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