A study of the quality and feasibility of Sibusiso, a ready-to-use food.
A ready-to-use food (RUF), Sibusiso, has the potential to alleviate protein- energy malnutrition. However, its nutritional composition, physical properties, consumer acceptability, and economic feasibility for use are unknown. This study aimed to determine the nutritional composition and physical properties of a RUF, Sibusiso. As well as to assess the consumer acceptability of Sibusiso to healthy and HIV infected children on antiretroviral (ARV) medication, and the caregiver‟s attitudes towards Sibusiso. The feasibility of using Sibusiso for nutrition rehabilitation was also determined. Methodology: Four samples of Sibusiso and a peanut butter (control) were analysed for their nutritional composition and physical properties. The consumer acceptability of Sibusiso to healthy children and HIV infected children on ARVs (ART group) was determined using a five-point facial hedonic rating scale. Focus group discussions were conducted to assess the attitudes and perceptions of caregivers surrounding Sibusiso. These caregivers had children who were either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. The financial feasibility of using Sibusiso for nutrition rehabilitation was determined using published data. The results revealed that Sibusiso was a good source of energy (2624 kJ/100 g) and quality protein (15.7 g/100 g). The nutritional composition of Sibusiso met the WHO/WFP/SCN/UNICEF recommendations for RUF. Instrumental colour analysis indicated that both Sibusiso and the peanut butter had a brown colour, although Sibusiso was slightly lighter. Sibusiso had the same spreadability or hardness as the peanut butter, but it was stickier than the peanut butter. Based on the sensory evaluation, Sibusiso was found acceptable to both healthy (n=121) and HIV infected children (n=51). Over 65% of the children in both the healthy and ART group liked the taste, smell and mouthfeel of Sibusiso. The caregivers also found Sibusiso acceptable and were willing to buy it, but at half its current price (60 ZAR/ 500 g). The price of Sibusiso and perception of the caregivers that Sibusiso was a peanut butter were the main factors that affected their willingness to buy the product. Financial feasibility analysis showed that the estimated cost (5.99 ZAR/day) of rehabilitating a child using Sibusiso was higher than the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health nutrition budget of 0.02 ZAR/day. Sibusiso is a good source of energy and quality protein, and it is fairly acceptable to children with HIV and caregivers. This indicates that Sibusiso has a potential to alleviate protein-energy malnutrition in the targeted groups. Yet, Sibusiso is expensive. There would be a need to somehow reduce the cost of Sibusiso so that it would be financially feasible to use it in nutrition intervention programmes.
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