A study published in the Journal of Food Science shows that it may be possible to create cookies enriched with antioxidants from grape seeds that taste good and have an antioxidant level about 10 times higher than a regular cookie. Grape seed extracts are rich in antioxidants, which have been associated with beneficial effects on human health such as prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. However, they have two disadvantages when used as food ingredients: a bitter and astringent flavor and instability to heat. To overcome these drawbacks, microencapsulation, a technique in which an ingredient (in this case the grape seed antioxidants) are covered by a mixture of compounds on a microscopic scale, protects the grape seeds antioxidants from the changes caused by heat and can mask their flavor.
The researchers evaluated four types of cookies (control, enriched with bulk grape seed extract, and enriched with two different microencapsulated grape seed extracts) using instrumental analyses, a sensory trained panel using the quantitative descriptive analysis methodology, and a consumer acceptance test that included a usage and attitude survey. The addition of grape seed extract resulted in darker brown cookies; microencapsulation partially masked the color that the grape seed extract conferred to the cookies. The cookies with the microencapsulated grape seed extract showed a significant higher antioxidant activity, possibly due to the microencapsulation reducing the grape seed extract heat degradation. The sensory trained panelists found the enriched cookies to be more astringent and with aromas and flavors similar to whole grains flours. However, the consumers rated the control cookie and one grape seed extract encapsulated cookie having about the same taste and liking. When provided with information, nearly 60% of consumers stated that they were willing to purchase cookies enriched with antioxidants.
This study suggests there is an opportunity to further investigate incorporating antioxidants microcapsules into baked products without affecting consumers’ likability. In addition, there could be a bigger potential market for enriched cookies with antioxidants if consumers are educated on the health benefits of antioxidants.