Culture-Specific Variation in the Flavor Profile of Soymilks



ABSTRACT:  A modified quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) method was used to determine sensory profiles of 8 soymilk products: 3 manufactured in Australia, 3 manufactured in Singapore, 1 manufactured in Malaysia, and 1 manufactured in Hong Kong. A panel (n= 7) was selected, trained in descriptive profiling of soymilk, and developed a soymilk language that was used to evaluate the flavor attributes of the soymilk products. A repeated-measure ANOVA showed highly reproducible panel performance, and significant differences in soymilk attributes among all soymilks. A principal component analysis (PCA) revealed 2 main groupings among the soymilks that corresponded to cultural origin: Australia and Asia (Singapore and Hong Kong/Malaysia). Products from Australia were significantly stronger in milky, astringent, salty notes and pale in color, while products from Asia were significantly stronger in beany, cooked beans, sweet, and pandan notes (P < 0.05). In addition, the Asian soymilks could be separated into 2 subgroups, with Singaporean soymilks having deeper color, greater viscosity, and less green flavor than Hong Kong/Malaysia soymilks. Australian produced soymilk is bovine-milk-like compared with Asian soymilk, presumably due to bovine milk being the primary source of milk in Australia. We conclude that culture-specific flavor preferences are a determining factor in flavor profiles of soymilks from geographically distinct regions.