According to consumer evaluations, quinoa as well as Andean and narrow-leaved lupins are well suited for smoothies and snack products. Researchers studied how crops with promising qualities, namely quinoa and lupin, can be used in sustainable food production.
The research project of the University of Turku and Natural Resources Institute Finland studied the utilisation of crops that are interesting and promising in their nutritional and functional properties. The project was carried out in collaboration with the National Agrarian University La Molina in Peru and Valparaiso University in Chile. The project also included companies from primary production and the food industry.
Crops selected to the study are cultivated in all the three countries – Finland, Peru and Chile. Researchers wanted to study the plants’ nutritional composition as well as the production and processing technologies and create new product ideas.
– The researchers from the Natural Resources Institute Finland together with the partner companies tried using solar panels in the seed drying process, which turned out to be a functional solution. In the project, we wanted to combine the ecological solar energy with the drying technologies so that they could be used, for instance, in the developing countries as a high-quality and environmentally friendly option, says University Lecturer Jukka-Pekka Suomela from the Food Chemistry and Food Development unit of the University of Turku.
The researchers also developed new products from quinoa and lupin which were given to consumers for evaluation. In Finland, the consumers evaluated smoothies made from lupins and quinoa and, in Peru, people had a chance to try quinoa and lupin snacks in addition to the smoothies.
– In Peru, our group was joined by the famous chef Flavio Solórzano who prepared the snacks from the selected ingredients. With these new products, we tested in what form and in how high quantities quinoa and lupin can be used so that the food still tastes good to the consumer, says Suomela.
On the basis of the consumers’ evaluations, quinoa as well as the Andean and narrow-leaved lupins can be used as smoothie and snack ingredients. The lupins are nutrient-dense crops with high levels of protein and healthy fats. Quinoa is also a nutrient-dense ingredient containing starch that is well suited to a wide range of products.
– Our project has strengthened information exchange between research organisations and collaboration with business life. The primary production sector received useful knowledge especially on crops drying technology. Furthermore, our co-operation networks both with the national and international project partners strengthened considerably, says Suomela.
The Sustainable Utilization of Andean and Finnish Crops project was funded by the BEAM programme of Business Finland and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The partner companies included Avena Nordic Grain, Bunge Finland, Rainingon Luomutila, Polar Glucan, and Viljakas.