Background: Providing nutritionally adequate complementary foods is essential in preventing malnutrition in young infants. Koko made from fermented corn dough constitutes the most common complementary food in Ghana. However, these do not meet the nutrient requirements.
Objective: To develop and test the acceptability and shelf-life of an energy-dense complementary food supplement for improving the nutritional profile of traditional complementary foods.
Methods: Surveys of families in urban and rural communities and stakeholder engagements with health professionals were done to identify the most predominant traditional complementary foods and young infants' feeding practices. A food supplement, KOKO Plus, that would improve the nutritional profile of koko and other complementary foods needed to be developed. Linear programming was used in ingredient formulations for the food supplement based on locally available foods. The acceptability of the food supplement, KOKO Plus, in koko and soup was assessed using 14 trained assessors in a 2 × 2 crossover design. Shelf-life of the product was estimated using the difference in control sensory test method at different storage temperatures (24°C, 34°C, and 44°C).
Results: Koko was the most predominant complementary food in many homes. The KOKO Plus food supplement improved the nutritional profile of koko to satisfy the nutrient intake requirements of young infants as recommended by World Health Organization. KOKO Plus was microbiologically safe, with estimated shelf-life of more than 12 months.
Conclusion: The development of KOKO Plus as a food supplement provides a practical solution to improve the nutritional status of weaning children in Ghana.
Keywords: complementary food supplement; koko; sensory tests; shelf-life.