Background: Hydrolyzed formulas used to feed infants with cow's milk-allergy can be classified as soy based, extensively hydrolyzed (casein, whey and mixed), and amino-acid based. Their unsatisfactory taste is reported by parents and physicians.
Objective: The aim of this study was to ascertain the palatability of these formulas in a double-blind taste test.
Materials and methods: Fifty healthy volunteers performed a randomized-order double-blind test with 12 different milks. The taste, smell, smell, and texture of each formula were evaluated o n scales ranging from 1 (worst) t o 5 (best). The Pearson correlation coefficient between the peptide weight of each formula and the score obtained for each evaluated attribute was calculated.
Results: The soy formulas and rice formula had the best taste scores, followed by the whey hydrolysates; the mixed hydrolysates and the casein hydrolysates had the lowest taste scores. Individually the most palatable formula was mixed hydrolysate 1, by total score. We found a statistically significant correlation between peptide weight, reflecting the degree of hydrolysis of each formula, and the scores obtained for taste, texture, and overall palatability.
Conclusion: The palatability of formulas is determined by the amount of bitter peptides obtained through hydrolysis. Flavorings and sweeteners may also contribute to palatability. Further studies are needed in order to determine how to modify the organoleptic properties of these products with the purpose of improving their palatability.