Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Matthew de Roode, innovation manager at Sensus, said that the model can help overcome the aftertaste issues often experienced when using stevia “with a high level of confidence.”
“The most prominent issue [with stevia] is the distinct aftertaste that is experienced as liquorice and somewhat bitter,” said de Roode. “In addition, but less important in this application is the reduction of dry matter when replacing sugar for the much sweeter stevia.”
In response, Sensus developed an “innovative and unique” computer model to calculate and optimize the taste profile of stevia in products such as yogurt using its Frutalose L85 oligofructose ingredient.
No ‘one size fits all’
“Due to the different applications we tested it became apparent that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to reducing sugar while maintain sweetness and sugar-like taste profile,” said de Roode.
“A specific mixture of sugar, stevia and oligofructose that tasted great in tea could taste horrible in coffee.”
“Therefore, we approached this with an elaborate experimental design based on sensory measurements."
"By testing different combinations of stevia, sugar and Frutalose L85 in a smart way, we could predict with a high level of confidence the outcomes of the combinations that we didn’t test. The result is a set of equations – the model – that we incorporated in an Excel based spreadsheet. With this model we can give our customers insight in their trade-offs.”
Presents trade-offs “in a clear way”
The model was developed as part of an investigation by Sensus into the sensory characteristics of Frutalose oligofructose syrup in combination with stevia in different types of yogurt.
In the study, sugar was replaced by Frutalose oligofructose and stevia in plain drinking yogurt and spoonable yogurt. Sensus found that due to the synergy between stevia and Frutalose oligofructose it was possible to reduce sugar levels without compromising on sweetness and taste.
“We found that our oligofructose reduced the aftertaste of high-intensity sweeteners in general," said de Roode. “In all cases it was possible to reduce the aftertaste of stevia.”
According to de Roode, the model “presents the trade-offs in a clear way” and will enable the food industry to “make well informed choices.”
“Ideal combination” for sugar reduction
Innovation manager, de Roode, added that interest in its Frutalose LB5 oligofructose sweetener and sensory measurement model looks set to increase as demand for stevia from the dairy industry grows.
“We are witnessing this [demand for stevia] as well, hence our efforts in this direction,” said de Roode.
“The current demand for Frutalose L85 oligofructose is mainly to replace sugar. It has 50% of the sugar sweetness and is a low calorie dietary fibre. This fact and the natural origin of both Frutalose L85 oligofructose and stevia, made this an ideal combination for the reduction of sugar in dairy products,” de Roode added.