Impact of Structural Differences on Perceived Sweetness in Semisolid Dairy Matrices


  • This article originated from a presentation given during the conference, “Food Oral Processing – Physics, Physiology, and Psychology of Eating”, held in Beaune (France) on July 1–5, 2012.


The objective of this work was to explore the possibility of obtaining dairy desserts of similar consistency and with different sweetness intensity. Eight formulations were prepared varying in the thickener type and concentration: carboxymethyl cellulose (1.1 and 1.3% w/w) and modified starch (3.5 and 4.0% w/w) and the milk type (whole or skimmed). The amounts of sugar (10% w/w), colorant (37.5 mg/kg) and lemon flavor (120 mg/kg) were fixed. Changes in composition and structure provide products with similar values of three instrumental indices of thickness (η10, η50 and Kokini shear stress [OSS]). The relationship between each of these instrumental indices and the sensory consistency fitted well to Psychophysical Stevens' Law. No direct relationship was detected between OSS values and sweetness. Some structural differences observed between thickeners can influence product behavior during oral processing, modifying in-mouth delivery of sucrose molecules. It could explain sweetness differences among samples with similar consistency.

Practical Applications

Decreasing calorie content of processed foods without modifying their quality and acceptance is important for consumers and the food industry. In dairy desserts, a strategy to compensate or reduce the sensory quality problems associated with calorie reduction is to design novel textures for optimizing the delivery of sweet taste stimuli to taste receptors. The results of this work have shown that it is possible to obtain semisolid dairy desserts with similar texture and with different sweetness, and also, with different texture and similar sweetness using different thickeners. More studies are needed to understand the effect of oral processing in dairy desserts thickened with different hydrocolloids to explain the observed variations in sweetness perceived.