Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Kiwi fruit is one of the more glamorous fruits emerging from New Zealand and this country with its iconic promotion efforts has been able to position it as an exotic fruit in European and American markets. It definitely has certain special characteristics being rich in pectin, Vitamins C and E. dietary fiber, potassium and Malic acid though taste and flavor wise it cannot be termed as exotic being practically bland. The seeds embedded in the fruit are very small in size and are generally eaten with the fruit after peeling. From health perspectives, presence of alpha linoleic acid (an Omega-3 fat), lutein and zeaxanthine has been touted for making them popular. How ever some are allergic to the enzyme Actinidin present in the fruit causing itching and skin rashes. Dietary fiber content in the fruit is some what high about 15-20% of the dry matter. Recently Kiwi fruit attracted some attention when an extracted preparation, branded as Nektabake was launched as an effective fat replacer in many bakery products.

"Pre-release evaluation of Nektabake was based on cakes, muffins, biscuits, bread and pastry products with trials demonstrating its successful incorporation into bread products with all the added fat, milk powders and eggs removed, she continued. The colour of the bread was a little darker than the control but the addition of soy flour ensured a whiter colour. The softness of the bread was good and improved after three days," commented Tong. In terms of pastry, she reports, a baker can remove up to 90 per cent fats but that the flavour will change at this level and in cakes, muffins and cookies it is possible to remove up to 100 per cent of fats but the manufacturer, said Tong, would then need to add a natural flavour to give the butter notes. The natural fructose content in Nektabake enhances a product's humectancy, explained Tong, and this helps to keep the bread product in a moist state. As fruit sugars are a food source for yeast, Nektabake will feed the yeast longer and in turn gives more volume, she added. "In some cases it is best to add Nektabake to water (1 to 1) to make a more liquid form to get the best distribution in bakery products," said Tong.The Nekta Nutrition director also said that its multifunctional ingredient can prevent ice crystallization and makes most products microwaveable: "The ingredient works in a way that is very similar to encapsulation, in that it coats the water particles to prevent the water from freezing. And the high moisture binding capabilities of Nektabake means it can take up to four times its own weight in water, thus helping to control water loss in products during microwaving."

Pectin and fiber present in the fruit must be imparting the property to mimic fat when incorporated in food products though the developers are not giving any details after covering it with patent protection. Since fructose is present in the extract in significant concentration, its use confers on the product the benefit of a humectant preventing drying up or crystallization in some end products. What is not clear is whether the Actinidin allergy is overcome by the process of extraction and if not this may restrict its use only in baked goods where high baking temperatures can be expected to inactivate the enzyme activity. Presuming that the claims made by the manufacturers of Nektabake, are true Kiwi fruit may see a production jump in future being in demand for making fat replacement products rather than as a fruit. The obesity obsessed Americans are demanding more and more low fat products as they are unable to resist the taste-rich products normally available with "scandalous" fat contents and products like Kiwi fruit extract offers a feasible route for introducing many products with low fat and calories..


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