FNRI’s sweet potato fries are a good source of energy, vitamin A

Rootcrops and tuber crops, staple food of around 700 million poor people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are rich sources of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. They are used as human food, animal feed or manufactured to produce starch and alcohol.

Here in the Philippines, some of the root crops and tubers that are commonly consumed include sweet potato, taro or gabi, and cassava. However, from 1978 to 2008, Filipinos eat less and less root crops and tubers.

The National Nutrition Survey revealed that sweet potato, one of the commonly consumed root crop in the Philippines, is eaten regularly by around 4% of Filipino households but the consumption has been decreasing from 1978 to 2018.

Sweet potato may be regarded as a lowly crop and food, but health authorities say it has many health benefits

Sweet potato or more popularly known as kamote, is an excellent source of energy and nutrients for the family. It is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium. Moreover, it can be planted nearly everywhere and it is much easier to cultivate than rice.

Sweet potato can be eaten by boiling or baking and can be an important ingredient in sinigang, ginataan, a delicious delicacy sweetened with coconut milk dish with various root crops, jackfruit, and glutinous rice balls, camote-cue or sugar coated sweet potato slices skewered on bamboo sticks and fried in oil.

And recently, using food extrusion technology, the FNRI-DOST has developed frozen, ready to cook sweet potato fries.

Extrusion is a process in which the food ingredient is pushed through an orifice or a die of a given shape. It mixes and shapes foods such as biscuit dough and pasta without cooking them, using cold extrusion, while producing a wide range of products such as crisp snack foods and sugar confectionery using hot extrusion.

Found to be safe and acceptable, the ready to cook sweet potato fries contain 505 calories of energy, 1.8 grams of protein, 4.7 grams of dietary fiber, and 854 micrograms (µg) of beta-carotene per 100 grams, thus a good source of vitamin A.

Interested small and medium businesses or local government units can avail of the ready to cook sweet potato fries extrusion technology for generating income and livelihood in their locality.#