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Sweetness enhancers offer greater mouth feel

By Sarah Hills , 03-Oct-2008

A new range of natural sweetness enhancers have been introduced to try and recreate the syrupy mouth feel that comes with sugar but tends to be lost in low-calorie products.

Taste Advantage LLC said its second generation enhancers are primarily for use in the ready-to-drink beverages and alcoholic categories and help to remove the “thinness” of artificially sweetened drinks.

However, the products have been developed further so now they can also be used in candies, confectionary and many other applications, according to Ed Baranski, Taste Advantage director of operations.

The enhancers are suitable for products that use sweeteners or sugars, in order to increase the sweetness without increasing the amount of sugar used.

Barankski told FoodNavigator-USA.com that since the first range of enhancers were introduced two-to-three years ago, the company has been working with clients on application challenges.

He added: “Primarily it is the mouth feel that is always the complaint with non-sugar sweeteners. Nobody has been able to mimic exactly the mouth feel of sugar.”

He described sugar as having a syrupy feel with body and thickness that is felt on the tongue and when swallowing.

Taste Advantage boasts that its enhancers can amplify the sweetening effect and mouth feel of high fructose corn syrup. With non-nutritive sweeteners, they can remove the “bite, burn, and artificial tastes” that they are often associated with, and for sweeteners specifically designed for gum they can release “the sweetness of aspartame throughout the chew”.

The enhancers can be used in lower calorie mixes where the amount of sugar has been cut, or in combination with sweeteners. Barankski said the format is flexible as they can come in powder or a number of different liquid solutions, such as ethanol.

Additional benefits include lowering and blocking of acidity, astringency, and bitterness, as well as increasing the flavor and perceived quality of products. It also gives additional sweetness to citrus flavored applications.

Henry Todd Sr, of Taste Advantage, a joint venture between the ownership group of Natural Advantage and AM Todd, said: “Over the next year we expect to see a large number of product introductions that utilize special effects ingredients to add innovation and excitement to every day brand.”

Naturally sweet

The spotlight has been shining on natural sweeteners in recent times, as the industry seeks low or no calorie alternatives to sweeteners produced by chemical processes, such as aspartame and sucralose.

Likewise companies are developing natural sweetness enhancers, including Nutrinova, which has teamed up with Biotechnology Research And Information Network.

The German ingredients firm said it is engaged in a systematic search process to find potential high intensity sweeteners and sweetness enhancers, using proprietary natural compound libraries.

It believes the market is hungry for a natural sweetener that "fulfils the quality and taste expectations of global food and beverage manufacturers".

The market for high intensity sweeteners is worth more than US$1bn.

Senomyx also said recently that a major focus in the coming months would be extending its portfolio of sweetener enhancers, particularly for high fructose corn syrup.

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