Monk fruit extract as a sugar replacer
Member-funded research has highlighted how specific sweeteners perform differently when product characteristics are changed. Work looking at monk fruit extract in simple (water) solutions showed that it provided some synergy with sugar as regards overall sweetness. To build on this, we assessed the flavour profile of monk fruit extracts in a more complex fruit juice system: a blend of apple, blackcurrant and raspberry juices made from concentrates. Reduced sugar samples were made by the reduction of the apple juice and addition of apple flavouring, malic acid, pectin and sweetener (monk fruit extract, steviol glycosides or a blend of the two).
Role of sugar
Monk fruit did not appear to have the relative sweetness expected from previous trials. Samples incorporating monk fruit extract displayed lower sweetness levels, and stronger astringency, sour and green apple notes than those incorporating steviol glycosides. This work highlights the role that sugar has in both providing sweetness and enhancing some fruit flavours, as summer fruit attributes were scored lower in reduced sugar samples despite the levels of both blackcurrant and raspberry juices remaining the same. If using the sweeteners at similar levels, it may be necessary to incorporate additional fruit flavourings in the product. To develop acceptable reduced sugar products, a toolbox approach is likely to be required.
Contact: Rachel Gwinn