BACKGROUND : The challenges of malnutrition and urbanization in Africa demand the development of acceptable, affordable, nutritious complementary-type foods. Biscuits (i.e. cookies; a popular snack) from whole grain staples are an option. The present study aimed to relate check-all-that-applies (CATA) sensory profiles of sorghum-cowpea composite biscuits compared to economic commercial refined wheat biscuits with hedonic ratings by low income consumers. In addition, the nutritional composition and protein quality, L*a*b* colour and texture of the biscuits were determined.
RESULTS : The CATA method is suitable for rapidly determining which attributes consumers perceive in food products and relating these to acceptability. Consumers preferred the lighter, more yellow wheat biscuits with ginger, vanilla, sweet and cinnamon flavours compared to the stronger flavours (sorghum, beany and nutty) and harder but brittle, grittier, dry and rough textured sorghum or sorghum-cowpea biscuits. However, a substantial proportion of consumers also liked the latter biscuits. The composite biscuits had higher dietary fibre content and a similar protein quality to the standards.
CONCLUSIONS : Whole grain sorghum-cowpea biscuits could serve as acceptable value-added nutritious complementary snacks for consumers in sub-Saharan Africa. The biscuits are simple to produce for the creation of viable small enterprises.