Potential of using Amaranthus leaves to fortify instant noodles in the south african context: A review
There has been a significant increase in the consumption of instant noodles among the youth, especially students. According to literature, instant noodles are preferred because of their taste, extended shelf life, cheap price as well as convenience, which suit the busy lifestyle of the student population. However, it has been highlighted that instant noodles are not always a healthy food choice. The nutrient quality compromise poses a negative impact on the functioning of the body, which could affect the student’s nutrition negatively. The objective of the study was, therefore, to determine the potential of Amaranthus leaf powder in fortifying instant noodles. Articles looking at instant noodle utilization and consumption by students as well as Amaranthus use, perceptions and utilization were used in this narrative review. These were selected and grouped by the authors according to the sub-topics mentioned above. Literature reports that instant noodles can be fortified by substituting wheat flour with Amaranthus grain flour. Studies on Amaranthus snacks and other starch-based foods using the leaf part have been reported but the fortification of noodles with Amaranthus leaf powder is not documented. The findings on the consumer acceptability of Amaranthus leaf powder-fortified foods have reported lower acceptability. This is due to unfamiliar sensory attributes such as a green color and a ‘leafy’ taste. Amaranthus is still perceived as food for poor and backward people, which contributes to lower acceptability of the plant to the youth. Nevertheless, Amaranthus leaves are considerably nutritious and the incorporation in staple foods could maximise crop utilization. Therefore, incorporation of Amaranthus with the noodles could lead to instant noodle indigenization in South Africa and give a sense of identity to the future generations. Furthermore, Amaranth-fortified noodles
could sustain the utilization of traditional foods, promoting local-based food systems and help reduce unemployment among the youth.
Key words: instant noodles; consumer acceptability; morogo; fortification; imbuya, underutilized vegetables
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