New Oat Product Development

Work Package 4: Advances that support new product development

Oatmeal Cookies

Lead Partner: Prof Dolores O’Riordan, University College Dublin

Collaborating Partners: Aberystwyth University and Teagasc.  

 

Objectives

The nutritional and health benefits of oats are recognised by the consumer and very much fit with the market demands for ‘natural products’. This has resulted in increased interest in incorporating oats as food ingredients in food products e.g. infant foods, beverages, breakfast cereals and biscuits4. This work package focuses on the “natural functionality” of oats, which is one of the global consumer megatrends. This WP will create the know-how and understanding required for the participating companies to create value-added oat products for the health and well-being market. The many nutritional and health benefits of oats are dependent on the physico-chemical properties of oats and its fractions and on how the oats are processed. The techno-functional properties of the oats (e.g. solubility, heat stability etc) determine their suitability for inclusion in food products and are very dependent on the physico-chemical properties of the oats.

 

Specific Tasks

Task 4.1: Establish the processing conditions for the new oat varieties (NOV), to ensure physico-chemical properties that will maximise their functionality, nutritional value and health benefits in food products.

Oat grains must be processed to convert them into palatable and nutritious food. In this task, the UCD team will process the new oat varieties in accordance with their standard practice. The crop scientists at UCD, AU and Teagasc will provide this work package with the baseline variety data and germplasm for assessment. 

The food science team at UCD will  then assess the physico-chemical properties of the processed NOV oats which will include composition, oxidative stability, thermal properties and microstructure analyses. The properties of the NOV will be compared to the companies’ standard products.  Based on the analysis, adjustments to the processes will be made to ensure the NOV have the optimum physico-chemical properties to ensure an excellent nutritional profile and functionality in foods. The aim of this task is to establish the processing conditions for the new oat varieties (NOV) established to ensure optimum physico-chemical properties.

 

Task 4.2: Assess the techno-functionality of the processed new oat varieties (NOV)

The techno-functional properties (solubility, heat stability, water binding properties, rheological properties, emulsion stability etc) of the NOV will determine their suitability for incorporation in food products. For example, poorly soluble products will not be suitable for beverage manufacture. The techno-functional properties will be assessed in food environments that mimic food ingredients and food processing environments (e.g. pH, salts, proteins, heat, shear etc.). Standard published methodologies that are well established in our UCD laboratory will be used. Stability of the NOV during storage will also be established as this is essential for commercialisation. Studies have shown that UHT treatment of oat milk did not influence vitamin content but on storage for 12 months’ degradation of vitamin A, D3 and B12 was evident. The properties of the NOV will be compared to control oat sample/s selected by the industry partners as representative of their current oat range. The aim of this task is to establish the techno-functional properties of the NOV in food environments and their stability during storage.

 

Task 4.3: Establish formulation and processing protocols to manufacture prototype food products containing NOV

Currently, the most popular foods, for the delivery of food ingredients with health benefits include, shelf-stable ready-to-drink beverages, snack bars and dairy products e.g. yoghurts.

Based on consumer information from WP3 and industry guidance (WP1), the food prototypes with greatest market demand and which best suit the techno-functionality of the NOV will be selected. While it is difficult to be definitive at this stage, it is likely that the food prototypes selected, will be based on a high moisture environment (e.g. a beverage (~13% total solids) and a low moisture environment e.g. a bar (>90% total solids).

The results of techno-functional properties in Task 4.2 will inform the formulation of the products in Task 4.3. The suitability of the NOV for incorporation into selected food matrices and appropriate incorporation rates will be established. The incorporation rates of the NOV will be dependent on the techno-functional properties and on the requirements for a nutritional claim or statement of health benefit. The formulations will be informed by the regulatory requirements. The aim of this task is to provide food proto-types suitable for the delivery of the NOV for consumer sensory trials and human intervention trials.