Sweetening up sheep milk kefir
The study of human emotions could provide useful information to sheep milk processors. By gauging the sensory acceptance of dairy products, the consumption and acceptance of sheep milk kefir could also be improved.
In an article appearing in the Journal of Dairy Science, scientists studied the effects of kefir sweetened with five different sugars on sensory acceptance and emotional profile in regular consumers of fermented dairy products.
The authors of this study, from the Federal Institute of Rio de Janeiro, Fluminese Federal University, Federal Institute of Paraná and Natural Resources Institute Finland, assessed the addition of demerara sugar, brown sugar, fructose, coconut sugar and honey to sheep milk kefir. One hundred consumers rated the appearance, aroma, taste, texture and overall impression, and expressed whether they were satisfied, active, loving, calm, comfortable, energetic, happy, healthy, refreshing, disgusted, worried or upset.
Sheep produce 10.6 million tons of milk per year, or 1.3% of the world’s milk production. “The results of the present study are relevant for the sheep milk dairy industry, as they indicate that emotional perceptions and sensory acceptance of kefir sweetened with different agents are directly correlated,” said lead author Adriano G Cruz, PhD, Food Department, Federal Institute of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “The evaluation of emotions evoked by products can be an important tool to obtain additional information that can be used for product optimization and market strategies by the sheep milk industry.”
The use of brown sugar decreased ratings for taste, texture and overall impression, as well as the emotions ‘active’, ‘loving’, ‘energetic’, ‘healthy’ and ‘refreshing’. The use of coconut sugar decreased ratings for appearance, aroma and taste, in addition to the feelings ‘refreshing’ and ‘upset’. The use of honey improved ratings for appearance and aroma but reduced the ratings for the emotions ‘active’, ‘loving’, ‘energetic’ and ‘healthy’. Kefir samples with higher sensory acceptance scores were associated with higher levels of the feelings ‘satisfied’, ‘active’, ‘comfortable’, ‘energetic’, ‘healthy’ and ‘refreshing’.
The results of the study suggest that demerara sugar or fructose should be used as a substitute for sucrose in the production of sheep milk kefir to increase consumption.
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