Optimizing Synergism of Binary Mixtures of Selected Alternative Sweeteners


Corresponding author. TEL: +49-40-42875-6147; FAX: +49 40 42875-6139; EMAIL: Barbara.Heikel@haw-hamburg.de


The aim of this study was to establish whether sugar can be replaced by the natural sweeteners erythritol, rebaudioside A and by the artificial sweetener sucralose without noticeable sensory differences. After previous two-alternative forced-choice tests to determine the sweetness of each applied sweetener, the quantitative descriptive analysis was conducted by an experienced sensory panel.

Results indicate that the alternative sweeteners do not indicate sucrose-like flavor and texture profiles but do indicate specific sensory characteristics. Consequently, combinations of bulk and high-intensity sweeteners (erythritol-rebaudioside A, erythritol-sucralose) were sensorially analyzed to investigate if they feature a synergism and mask the unpleasant specific characteristics of each other. The tested combinations indicate sucrose-like flavor and texture profiles at an adjusted sweetness of 1.0. By changing these optimal combinations with the aim of adjusting the maximum sweetness the unpleasant and characteristic (bitter) taste of the sweeteners can be perceived again. The tests were executed in comparison to a 3% sucrose equivalent value reference sample with a sweetness of 1.0.

Practical Applications

Sugar substitution is a hot topic in current food and beverage development, driven by the intention to influence consumer behavior toward health-oriented eating. The main objective is to maintain the typical and accepted sucrose sweetness in order to avoid negative impact on acceptability. Based on these purposes and the growing interest in natural food ingredients, this study provides an analysis of sweeteners, focusing on the bulk sweetener erythritol and the high-intensity sweetener rebaudioside A. However, there is still an intensive use and application of artificial sweeteners in the food industry; hence they cannot be neglected in this study.