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Encouraging Children To Eat Fish

NORWAY - A recent study by Nofima has suggested that colouring fish would encourage more children to eat fish products.

In a test carried out by Nofima, 75 children from three kindergartens in Oslo and Stavanger were invited to choose between white or coloured fish pudding.

Increased consumption of seafood is continually being encouraged, particularly among children and young people. In order to promote this, it is important to develop attractive products for younger consumers who may dislike the smell and taste of fish.

The purpose of the test was to study whether adding blackcurrant extract can convey attractive characteristics, such as enhanced taste and nutritional quality, to products made from low priced fish species.

Blackcurrant was used in the study because of its high antioxidant content, good antibacterial properties and its taste.

“As blackcurrants contain a lot of purple pigment, we wanted to study how children reacted to coloured fish pudding,” says Scientist Magnus Åsli.

Saithe and a cheap African fish, a species of catfish, were ground into forcemeat and blackcurrant powder was added. The same forcemeat without blackcurrant was used as the control product.

The blackcurrant powder led to a fish pudding with a milder fish odour and taste. It had a fruity odour and a nice purple colour. Otherwise there was little difference between this and the control product. The development of rancid smell was also delayed in the fishing pudding with blackcurrant added.

The kindergartens obliged and freely offered their time and resources to test the products. They said they wanted more fish products on the menu, but that the range that is suitable as kindergarten food is extremely limited. A tasteless purple food colouring was used for the kindergarten test instead of blackcurrant powder to ensure the choice was determined by colour and not taste.

“We got a positive surprise about how agreeable the children were to trying the products,” says Scientist Turid Mørkøre from Nofima Marin, who was responsible for the study. “The conclusion was the same in all the kindergartens – the children preferred the coloured fish pudding even though the taste was the same.”

“In the continuation of this study, we want to work further on the development of new, healthy and innovative fish products, mostly aimed at children and young people.”

The scientists have amongst other things looked at new applications for herring and development of fish burgers using saithe.

The study was carried out in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of Norway in Stavanger, while a Master’s student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, Jacaline A. Array, was also affiliated with the project.

the Fish Site Editor

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