This study investigated the effect of packaging materials on the quality of precooked cowpea flour during storage. Precooked cowpea flour was packaged with high-density polyethylene (HDPE), aluminium foil (ALF), and polypropylene (PPE). Proximate composition, functional and microbiological properties of the flour samples were analyzed monthly. Sensory properties of soup prepared from precooked cowpea flour were compared with soup prepared from fresh cowpea beans. Throughout the storage, moisture, ash, protein, fat, fibre, and carbohydrate contents were <6.50%, 3.83-4.85%, 21.32-23.61%, 3.33-3.44%, 2.31-2.40% and 60.31-62.35%, respectively. Bulk density of samples packaged in HDPE and ALF increased significantly (p<0.05) within the first two months, and decreased in PPE, while water and oil absorption capacity and swelling capacity reduced significantly (p<0.05) as storage progressed. After 6 months of storage, there was no significant (p>0.05) difference in the degree of lightness (L*), while significantly (p<0.05) higher values were recorded for redness (a*) (4.725) and yellowness (b*) 3 (16.050) in sample packaged with PPE. Total aerobic bacteria count was highest (8.0×10 CFU/g) in PPE, followed 3 3 by HDPE (6.4×10 CFU/g) and ALF (6.0×10 CFU/g). Mould count also followed a similar trend. Soup prepared from precooked cowpea flour compared significantly (p<0.05) with the one prepared from raw cowpea in terms of colour, flavour, consistency, and overall acceptability. This study showed that ALF and HDPE preserved the quality of precooked cowpea flour better compared to PPE during storage.
Keywords:Aluminium foil; Bean soup; Polyethylene; Polypropylene; Precooking