From the consumer survey a more practical and conservative segment and a more involved and quality oriented segment of consumers were selected. Convenience and health have a different meaning to these groups. For the practical consumers convenient food fits all household members, is nutritious and fast to prepare. For the more involved consumers, convenience foods are items of high quality and being pre processed to some extent. The first type reduces time and efforts, the second type adds quality. Naturalness appears a central theme with respect to fish products for both segments, making especially the conservative group hesitant with respect to functional ingredients, such as added fibers or selenium.
The interest in functional ingredients seems to be partly dependent on the consumers’ health consciousness in general, and the extent to which they value health as an aspect in fish products. Differences in self-rated importance of health were largest between Spanish versus Dutch consumers, not among segments within each country. Dutch consumers differed most, but not so much between the conservative and the involved segments. On the average, the involved consumers seem to value vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, and healthiness of their fish products slightly higher than the more conservative consumers. Both groups find these functional ingredients more appropriate for their weekly meals than for snack products. Thus, interest in a ‘healthy fish snack’ seems rather low.
A concepts test compared 70 different concepts consisting of ten different fish products, differing in level of processing and convenience, combined with one of seven functional ingredient claims. Conjoint analysis revealed two to three different consumer groups having an interest for added selenium and dietary fiber, not for omega-3 / 6, or natural high levels of selenium. These groups did not coincide with the conservative and or involved food related lifestyle segments. The test also revealed that for the least processed product category (raw fish varieties), increasing convenience leads to increased willingness to try the product. In the most processed products category, increased convenience leads to less appreciation of the products. These effects were not very different for involved versus conservative consumers.
A seafood design competition was performed to incorporate holistic development into the process, as compared to analytic technological or behavioral thinking. The design selected can both be developed for practical and for involved consumers.
The speciation of Se-enriched garlic showed differences in selenium uptake among different accessions with a high correlation between the amount of total selenium and the amount of y-Glu-MeSeCys whereas for the other organo-selenium compounds, more variation was observed between the different garlic accessions. In 2006, a follow-up experiment using the five accessions that were selected in 2005 was carried out. No problems were encountered on the pilot scale production of Se-enriched garlic to obtain new portions of Se-enriched garlic powder for additional fish feed experiments.
The speciation of selenium species of fish and feed samples showed that in the fish fillets, Se-methyl selenocysteine, selenium methionine and selenocysteine were recovered and their levels were different between treatments. Selenium IV, selenium VI and γ-glutamyl selenocysteine were present in the feeds but not detected in the fish fillet samples. Results so far indicate that Se-methylselenocysteine, to which anti-carcinogenic properties are attributed, was recovered in the fillet. The so-called finishing diets, in which the enriched feed is not provided to the fish during the entire production period but for a short period prior to harvest, showed that 10 days of feeding is sufficient. As depuration, a commonly applied farming procedure, which consists of depriving fish from feed and transferring them to clean water for few days may affect the selenium level in the fillet as well as the taste caused by dietary garlic, an third farming trial was set up to investigate these aspects. At present the results of this part of our work are not available.
The results of a study of ice storage have shown that a loss of approx 40% in taurine was evident already after one day of storage.
A thorough characterization of the antioxidant dietary fibre prepared from fucus seaweed has been performed. It can be concluded that from the nutritional/functional composition it is suitable for use into restructured fish products. There are some negotiations taking place in order to pursue the exploitation of the antioxidant dietary fibres from grape. This would open the possibility for commercial Antioxidant Dietary Fiber enriched seafood products to be a reality in a short to medium term.
Some more formulations with new ingredients have been explored. Most of the results from the experiments performed during the two previous reporting periods with wheat dietary fibre and grape antioxidant dietary fibre have been published in scientific journals or are in the revision process, and therefore expected to be available soon. A consumer test, based on collaboration between projects CONSUMEREVALUATE and CONSUMERPRODUCTS is ready to be performed at the beginning of 2007. A positive outcome can be considered as a big step forward, due to higher posibilities of success in the use of the results generated into this project by companies or SMEs.
Gel products with (6%) and without vitacel dietary fibre were investigated in the TNO Intestinal Model (TIM) on the digestibility of the proteins and the carbohydrates. The found difference in the kinetics of protein digestibility was caused by differences in the food matrix by the carbohydrates. This is an interesting finding in relation to the development of new consumer products.
It has been proposed that when protein is substituted by wheat dietary fibre at a constant moisture, which were the conditions set in the product development, the changes in the rheological parameters could be interpreted as a balance between (a) a lower protein density due to less protein concentration and less homogeneity of the three-dimensional network, and (b) the effect of the dietary fibre itself reinforcing the matrix and increasing the water holding ability. The ultrastructure, Raman analysis of the formulations, H/D exchange deuteration kinetics, as well as rheological analysis on different experiments support this conclusion. The structural changes due to the effect of antioxidant red and white grape dietary fiber (AODF) has been studied. Rheological parameters and secondary structure changes suggests that this type of dietary fibre affects the structure of the gels in a different way as wheat dietary fibre. Significance of the results is being analysed at the moment.