Sugar reduction: clean label options

Project title: Clean label sugar reduction
Member Funded Research project number: 144037

Why are we undertaking this project?

There has been a lot of focus on identifying suitable alternative ingredients for sugar reduction in recent years (e.g. sweeteners). However, these are not always well accepted by consumers who are increasingly demanding clean label solutions.

What are we doing as part of this project?

Understanding how much sugar can be removed before product quality is compromised to an unacceptable level or functionality is lost. The smallest portion size consumers will accept before they buy two of the same product will also be explored, as well as the effectiveness of two clean label approaches in composite products.

Current status of the project

Work was undertaken with consumers at a central location which assessed the acceptability both portion size and increasing aeration as a way of reducing both sugar and calories. In cake bars 80% of consumers did not reject individually wrapped cake bars with (up to) a 31% reduction in portion size. The work on aeration indicated that this would be an acceptable method of reducing portion weight, sugar and calories in desserts. R&D report now published.

Work for 2020 will include looking at the use of novel fibres and sweetness boosting natural flavours as a possible approach to sugar reduction. Confectionery products such as gummies and jelly sweets which is one of the Public Health England 9 sugar reduction categories will be investigated. Approaches will include replacement of sugar with various fibre – for example fructo-oligosaccharides, soluble corn fibre, acacia fibre. The aim will be to see the amount of sugar that can be replaced without unacceptable changes to the texture, appearance, sweetness and shelf life of the sweets. Both sensory and instrumental methods will be used to assess the products developed.

Project Lead:
Sarah Chapman

Jan 2018 - Dec 2020

Steering MIG: Nutrition and health

Project outputs

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