Development of a vitamin A fortified mango nectar for primary school children in Kenya
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a serious public health problem in Kenya; threatening the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, and its Vision 2030, by 2030 particularly on poverty reduction and universal primary education. Currently the main VAD alleviation strategies in use in Kenya do not adequately reach this 'forgotten' age group: 6 to 18 years. There was a need therefore for developing a low-cost intervention product that could fill this gap. The main objective of this study was to develop an acceptable, affordable, safe and stable vitamin A-fortified mango nectar; for use as a vitamin A-rich food supplement for primary school children. A sub-objective was to determine :the potential of the developed mango nectar in alleviating VAD and fitting into existing school feeding programs. In this study, the product - a vitamin A fortified mango nectar - was optimized for formulation, sensory properties, nutrient stability, safety and storage stability. The final product was subjected to consumer acceptability studies by pupils of Loresho Primary School, who were identified to participate in the study. The best formulation was found to be 50% pulp, 39.3% .water, 0.5% citric acid, 10% sugar and 0.2% potassium metabisulphite. The sample stored at 4°C was found to be the most stable and to remain the most acceptable, to maintain the best levels of sensory and biochemical attributes, and to supply at least 100 RE (333 IU) vitamin A. The changes in xv the quality attributes of the product were significant in the samples stored at both 25°C and 38°C. Majority (98.5%) of the pupils confirmed that they liked the product and would ask their parents to buy it. The product has a great potential of fitting into a school feeding programme and of alleviating VAD. At the 20% RDA level of fortification the cost ofthe product is comparable to what most beverages available to the school children cost (although they are not fortified). The cost of fortification is minimal or negligible coming to less than 1 Kenyan cent (KSh 0.01) per child. The final product cost was KSh 21.20 per 250-ml bottle. It was feasible to produce an affordable, acceptable, safe, and stable fortified mango nectar for use as a food supplement among primary schoolchildren. Both the project and product represent opportunities for new business. It is recommended that the production of the fortified product be scaled up to increase supply. It will also be necessary to conduct a bioefficacy study among the target school pupils.