Taura’s reduced-sugar cookies hit the sweet spot


19 Jun 2018 --- Research into Taura’s reduced-sugar cookies containing concentrated fruit pieces shows that consumers perceive them to be just as sweet as full-sugar alternatives. The natural ingredients specialist says a consumer sensory panel showed that its reduced-sugar cookies with JusFruit pieces contain 30 percent less sugar but came out on top in taste testing.

In addition, they outscored both full-sugar and standard reduced-sugar options on the overall taste and came closest to an optimum sweetness.

Taura’s JusFruit pieces are made with the company’s Ultra-Rapid Concentration (URC) technology, which concentrates the natural sweetness of fruit. Including them in sugar-reduced recipes creates “sweet spots” which increase the overall perception of sweetness.

Taura is responding to calls from the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce sugar. WHO recommended that the intake of free sugars should not exceed 10 percent of the total dietary intake. 

Blind-taste testing
Total elimination of sugar from diets is not the best way to achieve WHO's goals, says Taura, but one alternative approach is the reformulation of sugar-rich processed foods, replacing refined sugar with the naturally occurring sweetness of fruit.

Researchers wanted to see how well the pieces faced the challenge of containing much less sugar and how the biscuits would fare with consumers. Twenty-six untrained panelists blind-tasted a full-sugar cookie, a cookie with 30 percent reduced added sugar and a cookie with 49 percent reduced added sugar with JusFruit pieces.

The two reduced sugar recipes had similar sugar content due to the sugars that occur naturally in the fruit. An added benefit of the addition of JusFruit pieces was that it increased the fiber content of the cookies by 60 percent, according to Taura. 

The tasters were first asked to evaluate how sweet they thought each recipe was. The results revealed no significant difference between the full sugar reference cookies and the sugar-reduced cookies with JusFruit pieces. However, the sweetness of the regular sugar-reduced cookies was perceived to be significantly lower.

Sweetness was also evaluated on a seven-point hedonic scale, with a score of four corresponding to “just sweet enough.” The regular sugar-reduced cookies scored 3.71, while the full-sugar cookies scored 4.57, suggesting that they were considered too sweet. 

The cookies with JusFruit pieces came closest to optimum sweetness with a score of 4.25. Furthermore, they outscored the other two recipes on the overall taste.

“The big challenge for manufacturers of sweet bakery products is to develop recipes that offer lower free sugar intake without compromising on taste,” says Dr. Els Vandenberghe, Product Development Technologist at Taura Natural Ingredients, commenting on the findings.

“Our JusFruit pieces offer the ideal solution. This research demonstrates that the sweet spots they provide can compensate for the loss of flavor and sweetness in sugar-reduced cookies.”

“Not only were the cookies with our pieces perceived as just as sweet as the full-sugar version, but they were also liked more.”

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