We have been collaborating with the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) for two years now in a research project that we love. There, a group of researchers from the E.T.S. de Ingenieros Agrónomos y Montes de Albacete of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), led by Professor José Emilio Pardo González, is working to create functional foods.

What is a functional food?

A functional food is a food that becomes healthier after changing some of its ingredients. In this case we are going to tell you about a functional fuet in which saturated fats have been totally or partially replaced by polyunsaturated fatty acids from melon, pumpkin, poppy and chia seed oils. Of these four types of seeds, melon seeds have given the best results, followed closely by pumpkin seeds.

And we are especially pleased with the result because these melon and pumpkin seeds are the ones that we at Peris contribute to the research.

The seeds come from our fresh-cut plant where we prepare the peeled and cut fruit, ready to eat. So those seeds that we removed from the melons and pumpkin and that were going to be a waste, are valorized and have a new function, to become oil, which in turn becomes an ingredient that makes the final product healthier. Isn’t it great?

Traditional vs. functional fuet: less fat and more healthy


UCLM researchers have already worked on several products, such as the famous Miguelitos de La Roda, as we told you in our blog some time ago, and also had visibility in some media, as in this interview that we did in TeleRoda. On this occasion, and as we have already told you, we are going to focus on the process of working with a very popular sausage, a fuet.

For this purpose, we have worked with a fuet made in the traditional way, composed of 76% lean meat and 24% fat (bacon). This fuet was tasted by the tasting panel together with four other types of fuet with a percentage of fat replaced by pumpkin seed oil, melon seed oil, poppy seed oil and chia seed oil in different proportions in relation to the animal fat:

  • Functional Fuet 1: 50% oil – 50% bacon.
  • Functional Fuet 2: 75% oil – 25% bacon.
  • Functional Fuet 3: 100% oil – 0% bacon.

The resulting fuets were tasted in a blind tasting by a group of 110 consumer judges who, of all the fuet options, except for the traditionally prepared fuet which was the favorite, gave the highest score to the fuet made with melon seed oil, specifically the version made with 75% melon seed oil and 25% bacon.

The second most popular was the fuet made with pumpkin seed oil, also in the %-25% percentage.

The tasters evaluated the external appearance of the fuets, their aroma, texture and flavor, using nine-point verbal hedonic scales that ranged from ‘I dislike it very much (rating -4), to ‘I like it very much (rating +4), to ‘I neither like it nor dislike it (rating 0).

If we focus on the fuet made with melon seed oil, the best rated after the traditional one, the results on its external appearance were ‘I like it very much’ (rating +3) and its aroma, texture and flavor were rated as ‘I like it quite a lot’ (rating +2).

In terms of nutritional values, within the same type of seed, as the bacon was replaced by the texturized oil, the content of these saturated fatty acids decreased, so that the nutritional quality and fatty acid composition of these sausages was improved.

These are very positive results because, although it is relatively normal for our palate to be more attracted to the traditional taste, fuets made with seed oil, especially those made with melon, have obtained good tasting results and, in comparison, provide a notable nutritional improvement.

Melon and pumpkin seeds, from waste to revalued product, an example of circular economy


From Peris we are delighted that the University of Castilla-La Mancha has embarked on a research that on the one hand seeks that we all have within our reach healthier food, and on the other hand contributes to the circular economy, valuing seeds that would simply end up in the trash.

So we would love for the research to take a leap to the business environment and for these products to reach the final consumer, since we would have more healthy foods and we would revalue vegetable waste that can clearly provide a nutritional plus, as is the case of melon and pumpkin seeds.

The project ‘Formulation and economic valorization of functional foods from seeds rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants‘ is being carried out in a first phase with meat and bakery foods. This study has been co-financed by the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).