Researchers create a naturally derived jelly sweet

23 January 2020

Honey and propolis increase the health attributes of treats

23 January 2020

The increasing desire for foods and snacks with health benefits is driving the use of natural ingredients.  Researchers in Argentina have developed jelly sweets containing honey and propolis; two products of honeybees that offer antioxidant properties while satisfying growing consumer demand for naturally sourced ingredients.

Publishing their work in SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the researchers replaced sucrose with honey to decrease the glycaemic index of the product. Propolis, a resinous substance produced by bees, was also added.  Propolis has reported health benefits due to its antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Studies also indicate that propolis may have antiviral, anticancer and antitumor properties.

The jelly sweets were prepared based on nine different formulations. Testing was conducted to assess several properties including a sensory analysis carried out by a panel comprising 74 people aged between 17 and 65 years. Other criteria analysed included water content, colour, storage and in vitro digestion.

Researchers found that more than 90% of those testing the jelly sweets liked them. Only 5.4% of consumers disliked the product as they did not like honey. Researchers proposed that some products containing propolis might have a strong flavour that affects their acceptability. In addition, 45% of participants said that they would purchase the product, while 29% said they would not and 26% were undecided.

The sweets were found to have good antioxidant capacity. In some cases, the antioxidant capacity of the new sweet was ten times higher than that found in commercial products. Researchers also noted that the antioxidant capacity in the new jelly sweet was higher than that found in kiwi fruit, wheat bran bread, whole breakfast cereals and apples.

Considering in vitro digestion, it was found that around 40% of the product’s antioxidant capacity was retained. This, said researchers, indicates that a significant level of bioactive components in the jelly sweets maintained their antioxidant properties upon digestion. 

The researchers concluded that the new jelly sweet could stand out for its high antioxidant capacity compared with similar products on the market. It was also noted that that the sweets were not given to fungal growth over a 90-day period at 25oC, which the researchers attributed to the propolis components and the presence of citric acid acting as effective agents against microbial deterioration. Overall the new jelly sweet could offer a potentially healthy option to regular sweets on the market.

Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture:  DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.10107

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