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Symrise has launched a new toolkit of flavor masking solutions to help food manufacturers to overcome the off-notes and aftertaste associated with stevia-derived sweeteners.
Stevia sweeteners have been attracting considerable attention in the food world as manufacturers are casting about for natural alternatives to sugar. In the US, stevia sweeteners with a purity of 95% purity steviol glycosides or over obtained GRAS status in December 2008.
However there are still some issues with the flavor of stevia, which can be marred with off-notes and sometimes does not yield the sweetness expected. High-purity sweeteners can have a more prominent lingering aftertaste, rather like licorice. While this may work in concert with some fruity flavors in beverages, for example, with others the flavor requires some modulation to be acceptable to consumers’ palates.
To help combat the problem, Symrise has developed a toolbox of solutions that manufacturers can use to modulate the aftertaste, and bring whole sweetness profile closer to what is accepted by the market. For instance, in Europe consumers are used to a sweetness profile akin to sucralose, whereas in the U.S. they are more used to high-fructose corn syrup.
It has done this using its LC Taste system, which combines HPLC-based separation technology to identify molecules from natural sources that are flavor activators, and sensory evaluation by a tasting panel.
Since the overall flavor depends heavily on the food matrix, there is no one-size-fits all solution to the flavor and sweetness issues; rather, customers use elements of the toolbox that are required according to the application and the stevia material they are using.
When customers prefer to do their own development they may only need one element, such as bitter masking or a subelement of flavor optimization. Crucially, the flavors are naturally-derived, so do not conflict with the natural labeling that use of stevia enables for the product.
Although the toolbox is already quite comprehensive and can deal with a number of applications, including beverage and dairy, development work is on-going to find solutions for an even broader range of applications where stevia could be of interest.