On 30-31 March 2017, Euro Ingredients Ltd in collaboration with the International Potato Center (CIP) held a training to demonstrate to bakers how to use orange-fleshed sweetpotato for bakery products. During the practical training, participants learnt about the nutritional value of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) and the recipes for baking bread, buns, rolls and croissants using OFSP puree.
The training, which took place at Uni Industries, on Mombasa Road Nairobi, was conducted by Antonio Magnaghi (Euro Ingredients Ltd) and coordinated by Tawanda Muzhingi, Food Scientist at CIP. It was supported by the Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) and the Scaling Up Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato Through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) projects, are promoting the use of sweetpotato puree so that more people in Africa can enjoy the health and economic benefits from the vitamin-A rich sweetpotato varieties.
While some of the bakers were from large-scale supermarket chains, others came from hotels, and some were individuals who were interested in improving their home-baking skills.
Compared to using OFSP flour, it makes economic sense to use OFSP puree (steamed and mashed) as a partial substitute for wheat flour in commercial bakery products. In bread making, OFSP puree can replace between 35-55% of wheat flour requirements.
Participants like Joseph Kamau (Kassmart Supermarkets), and Douglas Magare and Everlyne Barongo (Naivas
Supermarkets), quickly acknowledged the potential of introducing new OFSP products into their bakery range. “I have never worked with sweetpotato puree, but I think we can use it to impress customers by introducing new products,” Barongo said. Magare added that the high standard of the products they had produced and information about their nutritive value, would meet the high expectations of their customers.
For Darwin Mukaisi, who works as a pastry chef at Nairobi Safari Club, introducing sweetpotato croissants would provide something that caters to increasing demand for products that promote traditional foods, while the reduced cost of production would help him use a pricing advantage to increase sales.
Naivas Supermarkets is one of the largest supermarket chains in Kenya, and as at November 2016, had 40 branches across the country. Kassmart, a smaller retail chain, now has five branches. By supporting them to develop and market OFSP products, they will be able to ensure that more people, especially in urban areas, consume healthier, more nutritional foods. This will in turn increase demand of OFSP puree by food processors, and ultimately, lead to higher uptake of sweetpotato roots from farmers.
On a small scale, home bakers like Winnie, also benefitted from the training. Being rather health conscious, Winnie had always wanted to bake sweetpotato bread, but the first try did not turn out as she had expected. “I was too shy to share my bread with anyone, but I told someone I was disappointed with the results as we saw it in the oven. It didn’t look impressive, but later on when I tasted it, I was happy with the taste.” After spending a day learning what she had done wrong, Winnie was confident that her next baking adventure would be worth sharing with the whole family.