Challenges faced in creating sugar-free beverages

Consumers regularly express concerns about the calorie content of sugar-sweetened beverages, whether they are traditional beverages or those newer products that may contain added nutritionally beneficial ingredients.
The removal of sucrose, high-fructose syrup or glucose syrup from beverages and replacement by high-potency sweeteners open a number of technical challenges. These include a need to get the sensory mouth feel which is normally being provided by carbohydrate sweeteners

Also if we reduce the amount of soluble solids also reduce the perceived mouth feel of beverages, effects that many dedicated consumers of full calorie products find unacceptable. The mouth feel, so called full body of the drink can be improved by adding back solids in the form of ingredients, such as maltodextrins, but it also adds calories. Also you can add such sugar substitutes as polydextrose, but it will add additional costs for sure and the result will not be that huge. Polysaccharides such as pectin and xanthan gum have also been proposed for use in low-calorie beverages, expecting that the perception of mouth feel is directly related to viscosity. However, this formulation approach has not been adopted widely, probably because mouth feel may be as much a consequence of sweet taste quality as it is dependent on solution viscosity and because viscosity derived from polysaccharides can have quite profound flavor modification effects

Another important consequence of using high-potency sweeteners is that their sweetening character is leading to an imbalance between sweetness and acidity or sourness. High-potency sweeteners have very characteristic aftertastes, such as bitterness and astringency, and these must also be overcome for acceptable products to be prepared. Finally, reducing the soluble solids content of beverages increases the volatility of some non-polar compounds and reduces the volatility; this might have a huge impact on beverage flavor.
MyDrink Beverages is the company to give you the best possible solution for your sugar-free drink.

Author - dipl. eng. Ieva Jurevičienė

Ieva currently Head of NPD for MyDrink Beverages. Her work encompasses innovation, new product development, recipe optimization and consulting.