New sensory research commissioned by speciality ingredients manufacturer Nutrinova has shown that the sweetening system used in hot tea and coffee can influence the overall taste profile of the drink. The study allows Nutrinova to provide table top sweetener and instant or ready-to-drink tea and coffee manufacturers with valuable guidance in selecting the optimum sweetener combination for their products.
"We are delighted that the results of the study have confirmed what we have long suspected, namely that by manipulating the sweetener combination in tea or coffee the flavour significantly changes, so different top notes can be pronounced," said Graham Hall, chief operating officer at Nutrinova.
"This has opened up exciting new product development and positioning opportunities. We are now able to recommend the optimum sweetener blend for manufacturers' individual applications to create a taste profile that is unique to each one."
The study looked at nine different sweetening systems: sucrose, sucralose and aspartame as single sweeteners, as well as two- and three-way blends with Sunett (Acesulfame-K)- all with the equivalent sweetness of 5 per cent sugar. An independent sensory panel tasted the sweetening systems in instant coffee and tea drinks at 60°C.
The beverages were evaluated by qualitative descriptive analysis (QDA), using attributes to characterise the sweetness and flavour profile as well as the mouthfeel.
Overall, while Sunett/aspartame in a ratio of 30/70 proved to be the optimum blend across various flavours, Sunett/sucralose showed excellent potential, producing a good tea or roasted coffee flavour, as well as remaining stable in hot beverages with a higher pH value. A Sunett/saccharin/cyclamate blend improves smooth coffee flavour whereas Sunett/aspartame/NHDC enhances tea flavour attributes. In fact, certain sweetener blends deliver an even more intensive tea flavour than sucrose.
Nutrinova is an international supplier of speciality ingredients for the food and beverage industries. The company invented acesulfame K and markets this high intensity sweetener under the brand name Sunett.
The company is also one of the world's largest producers of potassium sorbate and sorbic acid and is also active in the market for dietary fibres and omega-3 fatty acids. With its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, Nutrinova has fifteen affiliates throughout the world.