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Fortification and Functional Milk Products

As raw milk represents a nutritionally important commodity, feasible for differentiation into various products by processing, dairies have traditionally fortified raw milk in many ways. Typically, vitamins A and D are added to the level they existed in raw milk before fat removal to produce low-fat or nonfat milk. Furthermore, “healthy” variants may include even more vitamins and minerals (Fearne and Bates 2003), and become functional foods when fatty acids such as omega-3 are added. Both fortified foods and the more advanced versions, functional foods, represent science-based support for health and thereby may find themselves in conflict with lay views of and expectations for traditional healthy nutrition. The contestation is exemplified by rejection by some consumers of traditional cheese made into a functional innovation by adding omega-3; authenticity was a more pronounced product characteristic that should not be “stirred” by product development (Almli et al., 2011). An opposite case is the Finnish organic milk, the fortification of which by vitamin D and selenium (Finnish soil is naturally poor of this mineral) was seen necessary by public caterers, who represent scientific approach to nutrition (Mikkola, 2009).

Functional foods are defined as foods that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition, in line also with the definition of the European Commission's report (2010), in which even a natural food that may or may not be modified by any technology can be considered as a practical example of functional food. Consumers perceive products that are intrinsically healthy such as yoghurt, fruit juices and cereal as preferable carriers of functional foods (Annunziata and Vecchio, 2011), and several enhancements can be made to boost health claims. The growing consumer's awareness of their health coupled with progress in nutrition science provides companies with opportunities to develop a range of new functional products (Kraus 2015). Health concerned consumers are willing to pay a higher premium for functional enhancements in dairy products. Many consumers' perception of milk as an inherently healthy product enables the further enhancement of its substantial health benefits through various technologies. In the retail fluid milk sector, nutritional enhancements effectuated consumers' willingness to pay for milk products that were lactose free and cholesterol free, organic, had higher vitamin, mineral, and protein as well as lower fat content (Gulseven and Wohlgenant, 2014). According to their results, sociodemographic factors such as income, racial profile, presence of children, education level, and age have significant effects on the demand for functional enhancements. Specialty milk consumption increases with age, education, and presence of kids, whereas it declines with income. Results obtained were consistent with other studies, confirming that elderly households have more health-related concerns, because specialty milk consumption is higher among the elderly.

Due to the growing frequency of heart disease and hypertension, reduction of salt in cheese as a sodium carrier has indicated that partial substitution of NaCl with KCl had the least negative effect on flavor and consumer acceptance (Grummer et al., 2012; Drake et al., 2011). Czarnacka-Szymani and Jezewska-Zychowicz (2015) assessed the sensory acceptance of the cheese with different sodium chloride content and the influence of various forms of nutritional information; more people expressed their willingness to buy the cheese with the claim of reduced sodium chloride content. In similar line, 2204 Australian adult food consumers' nutrition concerns, perceived influence over food issues and control over personal health as well as food purchases and univer- salist values significantly predicted their intentions to purchase less fat, salt, and sugar (LFSS) containing food products (Burton et al., 2015).

 
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