Hydrothermally Treated Soybeans Can Enrich Maize Stiff Porridge (Africa’s Main Staple) Without Negating Sensory Acceptability
Maize-based stiff porridge, a starchy protein-deficient staple food, dominates among the populations in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Unfortunately, this is often consumed along with leafy vegetables since the majority of the population in this region lack resources for the purchase of high protein animal source foods, a situation that exacerbates protein-energy malnutrition. Considering this, the current study evaluated the effect of enriching maize-based stiff porridge with flour made from hydrothermally treated soybeans on consumer acceptability. A total of nine experimental flours were prepared from maize and maize-soybean mixtures following a 32 factorial design involving two factors, namely maize flour type (whole maize, non-soaked dehulled maize, and soaked dehulled maize) and soybean flour proportion (0%, 20%, and 30%). A total of 125 adult consumers from a rural setting in Malawi evaluated maize-based stiff porridges made thereof using a 7-point hedonic scale. Subsequently, the participants were asked to guess an ingredient that was added to some of the test samples. The 10% and 20% soybean-enriched maize-based stiff porridges scored 5/7 and above, with some being statistically similar to plain maize-based stiff porridges. No participant recognized that soybeans were incorporated into the maize-based stiff porridges. The study has clearly demonstrated the potential of enriching maize-based stiff porridge with hydrothermally treated soybeans without compromising consumer acceptability. This innovation could significantly contribute towards reducing the burden of energy-protein under-nutrition in SSA.