| FOOD CHAIN No. 1 - November 1990 |
An article by Abu Ahmed Shamim, from Gono Unnayan Prochesta (GUP) in Bangladesh
'Darker coloured sweetmeats made with 30-35 per cent soy milk were indistinguishable from those with cows' milk, even by experienced Karigors.' Sweetmeats on display.
© IT/Mike Battcock
The partial substitution of cows' milk by soy milk reduces the cost of producing sweetmeats without reducing the quality, and makes valuable milk available for other uses, for example children's nutrition.
In a country like Bangladesh, where more than 60,000 tons of milk products were imported in one year (1987-88), and where 'entertaining foods' such as sweetmeats play an important part in the national diet, the potential for milk substitution is vast. In the three miles around the GUP office, 25 sweetmeat shops are using 1,200 litres of cows' milk each day; a 25-30 per cent replacement of milk with soy milk would provide enough of a market for a micro soymilk plant.
GUP's exploration of this potential began when workers of its Women and Children Programme, especially Mrs Biva Rani Biswas, tried to prepare sweetmeats with soy milk in place of real milk. They found, however, that the colour, texture and flavour of the products changed with the new ingredient, and customers didn't buy them.
In December 1989, GUP employed an experienced sweetmeat expert, Mr Kalipada Kundu, to prepare sweetmeats using soy milk. The project camouflaged the different flavour brought about by the soy milk by using hot water during the grinding of the soya, boiling the milk and adding a little cardamom. It partially solved the colour problem by treating the water with sodium meta-bisulphate, and in tests, darker coloured sweetmeats like Kalaja and Chamcham made with 30-35per cent soy milk were indistinguishable from those made with cows' milk, even by experienced 'karigors'.
White sweetmeats such as Roshagollah and Shondesh which contain 20-25 per cent soy milk are also being tested.
The new products using soy milk have been evaluated twice by sweetmeat producers around Rajoir, and in most cases, they could not tell the difference between the traditional product and the new product.
At present, dehydrated soy milk is being used but the project plans to introduce fresh soy milk as soon as it becomes available.