Why portioning puts fermented food on new healthy snacking frontier
THE increased demand for health foods – everything from vegan to gluten-free, low-carb and vitamin enhanced meals and beverages – shows no sign of slowing. With this increased dedication to healthy living, the market for foods that promise gut health benefits is rich for growth.
Fermented foods are classified as functional foods – those with known positive effects on health.
Fermented foods, due to their production method which requires bacteria for fermentation, are rich in probiotics. Typically, the global fermented food and beverages market has been categorised by type: fermented vegetables, dairy and drinks.
In Australia, the number of brands and restaurants, cafes and food trucks offering fermented food in snack-sized portions has grown in line with the consumer demand for healthy offerings. Many cafes now offer kombucha, kefir, sourdough sandwiches or “smashed avo”, coconut or other nut-based yoghurts, pickled vegetables and miso marinade used for meats, vegetables, fish, nuts and legumes.
Fermentation instils the umami flavour that is so beloved of Asian diners. This salty-sweet combination is a staple of Japanese and Korean cuisine. It is also behind the trend for seaweed-based snacks.
James Mackney founded 100 per cent raw organic gourmet fermented food range, Ferment It. Their range includes kimchi and sauerkraut, but also fermented lime, mango and chilli condiment that can be eaten alone or spread on crackers, bread or vegetables.
They’ve found the range is popular at markets and have expanded their business to offer workshops in fermenting and DIY fermenting kits for home use.
25g daily makes it an ideal snack food
Though the fermented fruit condiments are 99.7 per cent fat free, high in concentrated vitamins and minerals, prebiotics and probiotics, they advise not exceeding 25g daily. This is what makes fermented foods an ideal snack rather than full meal – just like all medicinal foods and products, too much of a good thing can result in digestive problems and imbalances in gut flora.
“People have been producing fermented food and beverages for thousands of years, from grapes into wine or cabbage into sauerkraut both enjoyed as a condiment with meals that can benefit the body from the inside out,” says Mackney.
“Fermentation of raw organic ingredients produce microorganisms like lactobacillus bacteria and other symbiotic yeasts. These microorganisms release enzymes that break down the organic molecules which then leads to the creation of new substances that can benefit the body to help it absorb nutrients.”
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