Although it is generally accepted that the addition of micronutrient powders (MNPs) to foods causes no or negligible changes to organoleptic properties, there are anecdotal reports of low acceptability of the MNP (locally known as "Taburia") distributed in Indonesia. We hypothesized that the organoleptic properties of Taburia do not reduce the acceptability of foods if used as recommended. Acceptability of Taburia and a comparison MNP (MixMe™) were evaluated among 232 children aged 6-24 months and their caregivers. Both caregivers' perceptions of child acceptance, and their own assessments of organoleptic qualities when added to rice porridge or meals commonly consumed by young children, were assessed. Changes to the organoleptic properties of foods mixed with Taburia and comparison MNP were reported by caregivers, even when following preparation instructions. Taburia was found to enhance texture, sweetness, saltiness, and umami taste, but was also perceived as slightly bitter. Ratings for overall appearance and taste did not differ between rice porridge, plain or with Taburia, but the overall taste of Taburia was preferred over comparison MNP (p = 0.012). Meals consumed by children were preferred without the addition of MNP (p < 0.001). We demonstrate that the addition of Taburia to foods, commonly consumed by Indonesian infants and young children, affects organoleptic properties of the foods, even when prepared according to recommendations. However, these changes are unlikely to be the cause of reported adherence problems in Indonesia. This needs to be taken into consideration for product development and communication strategies promoting adherence.
Keywords: Indonesia; infants and young children; micronutrient powders; sensory evaluation.