Exploring household food security and the acceptance of an amaranth enriched food product
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Food insecurity affects a large part of the South African population’s households, even though the country is classified as being food secure. Several poor households experience insufficient food security. In general, agricultural means of addressing food insecurity have been explored with a measure of success. For this study amaranth, a widely grown traditional leafy vegetable, the lesser known grain-producing species, the grain amaranth, has been selected, because it can further contribute to households’ food supply. This research study aimed to propose a different approach of dealing with food insecurity, altering commonly consumed wheat bread by enriching it with grain amaranth flour. The study was conducted in two phases. During the first phase a quantitative household survey obtained data from two different income groups: Group A’s respondents were recruited among cleaners, and represented mainly the lower income group, while respondents from Group B were recruited among staff at the NWU and represented the middle to higher income group. The questionnaire acquired demographic information, food consumption patterns and food security situation. The food consumption patterns from Phase I revealed that bread was the most consumed food item among all respondents, thus the most appropriate food item to be enriched with grain amaranth. During Phase II enriched bread was developed and sensorially evaluated. A quantitative questionnaire with a seven-point hedonic scale measured the acceptance of the amaranth enriched bread samples. An untrained consumer sensory evaluation panel evaluated the acceptance, preference and purchase intent for the bread samples. The three samples consisted of the control brown wheat bread made from wheat flour, while 15% and 25% grain amaranth flour respectively replaced the wheat flour in the second and third samples. Results from the household survey revealed that none of the lower -income households was food secure, while 66.7% of the higher income group was. Approximately a quarter of the households presented in this study were identified as being at risk of becoming food insecure, revealing 27% of the lower -income group and 24.7% of the middle to higher income groups. Reason for concern were the 73% of lower income households experiencing food insecurity on a regular basis compared to 8.6% of the middle to higher income households who also experienced food insecurity on a regular basis. Results from sensory evaluation panels revealed that both amaranth enriched amaranth enriched breads were acceptable. Respondents indicated they either “slightly like” or “like” the samples. Thus this study revealed that the nutritional intake of households could be improved by enriching bread up to 25% of grain amaranth flour. The exceptional nutritional value of grain amaranth and acceptable sensory characteristics of the enriched bread could enhance the food security situation of households.
- Health Sciences