A Caesar salad of lettuce, croutons
Is it possible to produce a healthier yet still tasty mayonnaise? Researchers affiliated
“The low-calorie sauce has the familiar tang of mayonnaise; smears like the classic version, but contains only 20% of the oil,” says Professor Naushad Emmambux – Principal Investigator of the Innovation programme at the CoE. However, the research is about much more than the development of mayonnaise for the health-conscious.
“We want to develop low GI foods that are less energy-dense, that are cost-effective to produce by small and medium enterprises, and can help fight malnutrition and diet-related non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity,” explains Professor Emmambux, who is based at the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) Department of Consumer and Food Science.
Together with his colleague Professor Gyebi Duodu and
To this end, the team has developed processing methods such as extrusion cooking or microwave technology to produce healthy, affordable and convenient foods. In one project, an agricultural engineer is designing a small-scale solar dryer to dry out moringa leaves and sweet potatoes. A hybrid heat processing equipment with infrared and microwave has been built for energy-efficiency. The hybrid oven can be used to produce a quick cooking samp for example.
The team is also investigating climate-smart indigenous African agricultural crops such as cowpea, sorghum
Investigations into starchy foodstuffs such as maize are also high on the agenda because such calorie-rich products form the bulk of many African diets. Professor Emmambux and his team hope to one day have convenient and
“We hope to produce so-called SMART foods with extra health benefits that are safe, marketable, affordable, ready to eat and trendsetting,” says Emmambux. To date, the team has developed sorghum porridge with a high antioxidant content, double cream yogurt with half the fat, and nutrient-rich baby foods.
Production needs to be stepped up and market surveys