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Oxidative Stability and Consumer Acceptance of Fish Oil Fortified Nutrition Bars



Abstract:  Oat and soy-based nutrition bars were fortified with 4 levels of fish oil (0, 6, 12, or 18 g per approximately 600 g batch), representing 0%, 20%, 40%, or 60% replacement of canola oil. The commercially available purified fish oil was not emulsified nor encapsulated, and contained tocopherols. Baked nutrition bars were evaluated for proximate composition, water activity, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic (DHA) content, and consumer acceptance using a 9-point hedonic scale. The bars were sealed in opaque bags and stored in a stability chamber at 25 °C and 50% relative humidity for 10 wk to assess oxidative stability. There were no significant (P > 0.05) differences in proximate composition, water activity, or ALA levels among treatments. EPA and DHA levels were significantly (P < 0.05) different among treatments, averaging 178.1 mg/serving (20-FO), 488.3 mg/serving (40-FO), and 664.6 mg/serving (60-FO), but none changed during storage. Headspace hexanal and propanal levels decreased over time but were not significantly different among treatments until week 10. Peroxide values were not significantly different except between the control and 60-FO bars. Low values obtained for these analyses suggest negligible oxidation in the bars. Consumer acceptance scores did not differ significantly between the control and lowest fortification level (20-FO), ranging from 6.4 to 6.6 for aroma, texture, flavor, and overall acceptability. These results suggest that nonemulsified, nonencapsulated fish oil can successfully replace canola oil in intermediate moisture nutrition bars to provide EPA and DHA levels as high as 178 mg/serving without affecting consumer acceptability or oxidative stability.

Practical Application:  Omega-3 fatty acid rich fish oil has been shown to have numerous health benefits, but there are limitations to its use in shelf-stable food products. In this study, nutrition bars were successfully fortified with nonencapsulated, nonemulsified fish oil to deliver 178 mg EPA and DHA per 35 g serving. The fortified bars were oxidatively stable over 10 wk and acceptable to consumers.