By Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune
The type of bread children like best might open up new marketing possibilities for wheat farmers, according to one University of Idaho researcher.
Samantha Ramsay, assistant professor of foods and nutrition at the university in Moscow, is leading a study funded by the Idaho Wheat Commission to determine whether children prefer bread made of hard red or hard white wheat. Indications so far show that bread made of hard white wheat – which is commonly grown in Idaho – might find new favor with consumers nationwide.
“Hard red wheat is what you traditionally see in the market,” Ramsay said, referring to the dark-colored whole grain bread most bread buyers recognize.
“Hard white wheat grows in Idaho … but doesn't have as much protein content,” she said. “Without that protein content, white wheat – even as whole grain – doesn't have the bitter or astringent mouth feel that you would identify with hard red wheat.”
Ramsay and her graduate assistants in the child development laboratory of the food science college have performed controlled experiments on 26 preschool-age children. The study involves baking bread made from both whole grain and non-whole grain red and white wheats.
Children are then asked to rank their preferences using the standard of “very yummy, yummy, just OK and yucky.”
“So far, we do know that children are preferring to select products overall (that are not whole grain), but more children have selected the hard white wheat as yummy and just OK. More children identified the hard red as yucky,” Ramsay said.
The differences reflect children's natural aversion to astringent and bitter flavors – a trait that most people overcome as they grow older.
But the implication for the wheat industry is that bread made from hard white wheat might become a preferred choice among consumers looking to put more whole grains into their diets, and attract children and others whose sensory taste receptors reject bitter and astringent flavors.
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Source: Lewiston Tribune
Posted by Jami Howell