Finding a Preservative for Homemade Local Beverages in Northern Ghana: The Case of Sobolo, Tiger Nuts Drink and Zim Kom

Author(s): Issah Adam, Osman Fawzia

In northern Ghana, the most famous and preferred locally made beverages are tiger nuts drink, sobolo and zimkom. The main problem associated with these products however, is their short shelf-life when they are kept at ordinary air/ room temperatures as a result of activities of microorganisms which actions are facilitated by conducive atmosphere of the region. The conducive atmosphere coupled with the ‘doomsolization’ of Ghana’s economy almost every other year during when such beverages are in high demand, further exacerbates the problem of storage losses vendors endear. This has very serious negative financial drain on profits since any unfinished often go waste. Presently large scale production is not possible and therefore these vendors cannot enjoy the economy of scale. To aggravate matters, most vendors lack refrigerators; and even for those who own refrigerators, erratic electricity supplies during the dry periods of the year, encounter significant losses too. It was against this background that this study sought to identify suitable preservative for these homemade local beverages in northern Ghana so that when such a preservative is used the products can be stored under ambient temperatures for an extended period of time. Specifically, the study sought to assess the effects of sodium benzoate on the three beverages; to determine the extent of shelf life extension of the beverages due to the benzoate; to establish which concentration level of the benzoate is most effective; and to determine whether respondents would notice the benzoate in beverages. The research design employed was quasi-experimental involving the treatment and observation of samples under various handling and/ or storage conditions. Sufficient quantities of each beverage were procured and two varying concentrations of sodium benzoate solutions prepared for use in the experiments. The shelf life observation technique employed was direct where, ta

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