- Spanish researchers looked at replacing pork-back fat, a common ingredient in sausages, with boiled quinoa.
- Sausages were prepared that had no quinoa, half pork fat and half quinoa, and all quinoa.
- Replacing fat with quinoa made a difference in sausage composition, texture and flavor, but taste testers liked the sausages with the grain as much as the sausages with fat.
With so many consumers looking for better-for-you alternatives to their favorite foods, adding quinoa to sausage seems like a no-brainer. The ancient grain, which is high in several vitamins and minerals, is not only healthier than fat, but it is also one of the top trends for millennials who consider themselves foodies. Since quinoa is such a trendy ingredient, with the right marketing any manufacturer might be able to capitalize on adding it to a product.
The healthier sausages also passed the most important standard: the taste test. While the study showed that the sausages with quinoa were chewier, spicier, less juicy and had a more pungent flavor, these all may be seen as desirable traits for sausage.
As consumers demand more natural ingredients, manufacturers are faced with the challenge of reformulating products with minimal impact on taste, appearance and texture. Sometimes, this process can be daunting because consumers don't always respond well to changes that are made. Sometimes, this process can be successful, like when Kraft Heinz switched to natural ingredients in its Kraft Macaroni & Cheese — and didn't tell consumers until months of strong sales of the reformulated brand.