Sweet success: UNICAMP researchers produce vegan ice cream with soy and rice protein

Plant-based foods are gaining supporters worldwide due to growing levels of consumer awareness and demands regarding the origin of raw materials and the environmental sustainability of processes.

Veganism, another lifestyle with strong growth, has been changing dietary patterns in response to ethical and health issues, curbing, among other aspects, the consumption of products of animal origin.

To meet these demands, as well as restrictive lactose and fat diets, scientists from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) produced low-calorie ice cream, without the addition of ingredients of animal origin. The results were published in volume 24 of the Brazilian Journal of Food Science Technology under the title Plant-based frozen desserts: temporal sensory profile and preference.

In the research were developed six formulas of ice cream, with chocolate flavor, three of them based on soy protein, and three with rice protein. The formulations were free of lactose and animal fat. The frozen dessert was sweetened with sucrose or with the sweeteners sucralose and steviol glycoside extract (stevia).

Sensory acceptance analysis was carried out with the products and "time-intensity" analysis, a methodology applied in assessing the intensity and duration of sensory attributes such as sweet taste, bitter taste, chocolate taste, and melting.

The samples sweetened with sucrose were preferred by the 120 consumers participating in the study, among men and women aged 18 to 60 years, a representative group of the target audience. However, approximately 46% of the testers pointed to the purchasing potential of the product formulated with soy protein and sweetened with sucralose.

Ice cream formulations sweetened with stevia showed greater intensity and duration of the bitter taste. Products made with soy protein generally showed better sensory performance compared to rice protein formulations. According to the authors, the habit of consumption of soy products by this class of consumers may explain the result. 


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