22 Nov 2018 --- The reduction of sugar in beverages remains high on the agenda for brands and suppliers across the globe with increased pressure from health lobbyists driving manufacturers to reduce sugar content across the board. While sugar taxes that were implemented earlier this year continue to gain momentum in the UK, consumer appetite for highly sweetened products has continued to diminish and interest in low-calorie or naturally sweetened beverages has begun to take center stage. At Food Matters Live, held in London this week, Treatt presented sugar-reduced concepts in beverages, using odor and flavor components.
Treatt is an ingredients manufacturer to the global flavor, fragrance and consumer goods markets from their bases in the UK, US and China. The company creates flavors for tonics, carbonated soft drinks, flavored waters, teas, beers, spirits and juices.
By exploiting the overlap in neurological processing, Treatt is seeking to enhance the perception of sweetness with odor components and improve flavor and mouthfeel with 100 percent natural solutions. These contain no sugar, calories or coloring making them convenient as well as effective to formulate with, says the company which presented a range of craft, tea and sugar reduced beverage concepts on the Food Matters Live show floor this week.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Charlotte Catignani, the company’s Research and Development Manager, says the drive and interest towards natural sweeteners is growing.
“We know that most people look to natural sweeteners, such as stevia, as a solution to reduce sugar content in beverages. Firstly, we are demonstrating our capabilities in sugar reduction and we have a carbonated lemon and lime soft drink which is very similar to the sort of things you could find in a supermarket. It is sweetened with a small amount of sugar and some stevia. It does have the flavor profile that you would associate with stevia, that slightly bitter aftertaste, so we developed a modified version of it and used out Treatt Sweet 9866 which we launched in the summer. That product has a white sugar flavor characteristic which gives a more sugar-like flavor profile and rounds out the stevia taste profile.”
“The concept tastes much more like sugar, which is what we wanted to achieve,” she adds. “One advantage of our capabilities in this space, is that we can work with any high-intensity sweeteners, natural or artificial, and make them taste much more like sucrose of fructose depending on the level of sweetness needed,” claims Catignani.
“It’s really down to the beverage manufacturers how much they want to reduce sugar content by, but we can offer solutions that can be tailored to those needs and flavors in this space,” she notes.
The UK sugar tax has been a significant topic for 2018, but according to Catignani, Treatt has been working on reformulations for some time: “The sugar tax coming to the UK created a flurry of activity and people started to push to reformulate in time for the deadline. Our customers and these large manufacturers have been reformulating for years, they made these global commitments years ago and had been looking at this for a very long time,” she continues. “The sugar tax has caused a spike in interest for us as a company, but it has been an ongoing topic in the industry for many years.”
Catignani also states that Treatt is addressing the market trend for reduced palate for sweet drinks and the company’s flavor expertise in citrus, craft and tea notes have also contributed to concepts on display at Food Matters Live.
“The demo that we have, have all been made in-house and are good examples of what can be done regarding flavor concepts, to enhance sweetness perception,” she continues. “We have on display an innovative sparkling tea, also known as our craft soda, which has a top note of bergamot usually associated with Earl Grey tea – it’s not too sweet but has a very nice, clean, citrus flavor.”
“We also have a green bell pepper, cucumber and lime flavored water so here we are addressing that rehydration trend. It’s not too sweet and not fizzy,” she adds. “Treatt has developed these flavors by stripping the aroma from the flavors themselves, which we think works very well in improving flavor with odor components.”
Looking ahead to 2019, Catignani believes that citrus flavors will continue to make waves in the soft drink industry and unusual citrus fruits will begin to dominate shelf space. “We expect to see more variations on citrus flavors, such as pink tiger lemon, Indian citrus flavors and more tea flavors, which are always developing and gaining further interest,” she concludes.
By Elizabeth Green
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