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Open Access Peer-reviewed

Impact of Non-nutritive Sweeteners on the Sensory Profile and Acceptance of a Functional Tamarind Beverage

Rafael Sousa Lima , Helena Maria André Bolini
Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2020, 8(1), 26-32. DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-8-1-4
Received December 04, 2019; Revised January 08, 2020; Accepted January 17, 2020

Abstract

The current consumer aversion for sucrose excess and the use of artificial ingredients has encouraged the production of beverages that preserve the fruit's wholeness and aggregate nutritional values, such as the availability of dietary fibers. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of non-nutritive sweeteners on the sensory profile and acceptance of a functional tamarind beverage. The tests were applied in individual cabins, with 30 mL samples, served in 3 random digits coded plastic cups, presented in monadic balanced complete blocks. Ideal sweetness, equi-sweetness, quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) and consumer affective tests were performed, and results were analyzed through Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Tukey's means test (p < 0.05). The ideal sweetness of the reference sample was 10.70% of sucrose. For the quantitative descriptive analysis, 17 descriptive terms for the observed perceptions of the product were used. Most of the used sweeteners, except for stevia, showed no significant difference for perceptions tamarind aroma and flavor. The neohesperidin sample showed a greater intensity of refreshment sensation, while the sucrose and sucralose samples presented lower perception of bitter taste. The stevia sample had the least preference and greater perception of bitter taste, sweet and bitter aftertaste. Stevia and neohesperidin samples obtained lower acceptance by consumers regarding the overall impression, while sucralose had the best sweetness acceptance. Also, the astringency perception of the product interfered negatively in the acceptance of the samples.

1. Introduction

The present scenario of increased prevalence of chronic noncommunicable diseases in the world observed by the World Health Organization 1 has led consumers to seek a better quality of life, which is usually linked to changes in the dietary pattern. This is evidenced by studies on the Beverage Industry's New Product Development Outlook, where consumers consider the "natural quality" as the most important attribute in a product 2.

This concern impacts on the beverage market, which tends to meet demand through products with different claims for health benefits. In the United States, for example, there was a reduction in the traditional beverages market due to consumer aversion to excess sucrose and artificial ingredients, and an increase in consumer requests for products with improved quality. Euromonitor shows that smoothies, coconut water and exotic fruit juices have gained strength due to a more premium positioning 3, 4.

In this context, non-alcoholic beverage market invests in products that preserve the fruit and other vegetables integrity, as practical and easy alternatives for healthy eating. Fruit and vegetable juices are at the top of current global market trends, with an expected revenue of USD 198 billion in 2019 5. Developing exotic fruit beverages with sensory attributes, nutritional and functional claims is in the best interest of current consumer demands.

Following this scenario, a functional beverage with tamarind (Tamarindus indica L), besides its striking flavor, has a low glycemic index 6. The fruit presents phenolic compounds such as catenin, procyanidin, epicatechin, tartaric acid, triterpenoid and other substances with important nutritional properties for a functional claim product 7, 8.

Beyond the benefits of phenolic compounds 9, the addition of soluble dietary fibers, including fructooligosaccharides (FOS), has also been associated with health benefits. Adding FOS has positive effects on glycemic control, being associated with increased viscosity and gel formation of the intestinal contents, reduction in glucose diffusion through the water layer in the intestine and increased sensitivity to insulin 10.

Thus, based on the associated risk factors of diabetes on the population, and considering new consumer’s sucrose aversion and demands for natural and healthy products, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of non-nutritive sweeteners on the sensory profile and acceptance of a functional tamarind beverage.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Tamarind Beverage Sample

The beverage samples were made using a commercial frozen tamarind pulp (Ricaeli®, Cabreúva, Brazil) with addition of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) from SweetMix® (Sorocaba, Brazil). Seven different samples were made, the standard sample with added sucrose, and six subsequent samples with different sweeteners. União® sucrose (São Paulo, Brazil) was used to formulate the reference sample. The non-caloric sweeteners used for the subsequent samples were stevia with 97% of rebaudioside A (Clariant®, São Paulo, Brazil), sucralose, acesulfame-K, saccharin, neohesperidin and neotame (Nutramax®, São Paulo, Brazil).

The pulps were purchased and stored at -20 °C, as recommended by the manufacturer. The dilution ratio was 100 g of pulp per 200 ml of water. The amount of FOS was 1.5 g per 100 ml, according to the recommendations of the Brazilian legislation for liquid foods 11.

2.2. Proximate Composition

The proximate composition of the samples base formulation was performed in quadruplicate, according to the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) methodology for moisture, protein, carbohydrates and ashes 12. Lipid determination was made by cold extraction 13. Values were expressed in mean and standard deviation.

2.3 Sensory analysis

For this study, ideal sweetness, equi-sweetness, quantitative descriptive analysis and consumer affective tests were performed. All tests were carried out at the Laboratory of Sensory Analysis and Consumer Studies at the Department of Food and Nutrition the School of Food Engineering, University of Campinas. The research was approved by the Ethics and Research Committee of the University of Campinas (CAAE #84575518.0.0000.5404).

The participants of the research were invited through institutional e-mail and posters, available in different buildings at the University of Campinas. Before starting the tests, the individuals were informed about the criteria for participating in this research.

The tests were applied in individual cabins, at conditioned temperature of 22 ºC. Each sample consisted of 30 ml, served in 50 ml plastic cups coded with 3 random digits, presented in monadic balanced complete blocks, always with water availability. Data collection was performed by Fizz Sensory Software model 2.47b 14.

2.4. Ideal Sweetness and Equi-sweetness Determination

Initially 122 consumers performed the ideal sucrose test 15 to define the ideal sweetness of the samples using Just about Right (JAR) scale. Five samples of the functional tamarind beverage (pulp + FOS) with different concentrations of sucrose were elaborated: 5.0g, 7.5g, 10.0g, 12.5g, and 15.0g / 100ml. Results were analyzed through distribution histograms of the sensory responses as a function of the sucrose concentration, and by simple linear regression analysis between the hedonic values and the sucrose concentration. For determining the sweetness equivalence by the magnitude estimation method, the tasters were pre-selected through WALD’s sequential analysis 15, using triangular difference tests to select candidates with the ability to differentiate the samples. For triangular difference tests, three samples of a tamarind functional beverage (3.5%, 3.5% and 5% / 100mL) were prepared.

The sweeteners relative sweetness was defined by 12 selected tasters through the Magnitude Estimation 16 test. Five samples of the tamarind beverage with different concentrations of each sweetener were elaborated based on the ideal sucrose value, using a multiplying factor of 1.6 17, 18. The selected and trained tasters received a 50 ml reference sample, with an arbitrary value of 100 for sweetness intensity, followed by several samples (30 ml each) in encoded, randomized cups, always with water to clean the palate.

Each sweetener was evaluated on different days, and the tasters estimated the sweetness intensities of the coded samples relative to the reference, e.g., a sample that presented twice the sweetness from the reference received the value 200, the one that presented half of the sweetness received the value 50, and so on 19. The obtained values from the magnitude scale were converted to logarithmic values expressed in the geometric means. The relation between the concentration curves and the sensory response for each sweetener corresponded to a potency function 20.

2.5 Quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA®)

A total of 17 undergraduate, graduate students and employees from the University of Campinas were selected as panelists through WALD’s sequential analysis. The panelists, all between 20 and 40 years old, male and female were then invited to evaluate seven samples of the tamarind beverage, one being the reference sample with sucrose, and six subsequent samples (with stevia with 97% of rebaudioside A, sucralose, acesulfame-K, saccharin, neohesperidin and neotame).

In the second stage, the repertory grid 19 test was applied to define the samples descriptive terms. The panelists received a paired combination of the beverage and individually described their similarities and differences regarding appearance, aroma, flavor and texture. Then they discussed together the chosen terms by each individual, and with the panel leader supervision they defined the descriptors that adequately described the assessed attributes among the samples, noting their definitions and suggesting references for training purposes 21. Table 1 shows the seventeen consensually generated sensory descriptors, their written definitions and suggested references.

In the third stage, a round table was conducted, where the samples’ attributes for “little”, “much”, “weak”, “strong”, and “none” were displayed during a week, being constantly replaced to maintain temperature and quality for training. The panelists carried out the training for at least four times so that they could retain the memory to recognize the characteristics evaluated in the products.

In the fourth stage, the panelists performed the intensity determination tests for each of the descriptive terms. In individual booths, a 9 cm linear intensity scale (non-structured), with sequential monadic presentation of the seven samples, evaluated in quadruplicate was used 22. The results were analyzed by the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) 23, expressed by Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with two sources of variation between sample and reference, for each attribute and each panelist, where the p-values of the F-test were obtained both for sample and repetition. With this analysis the panelists were selected according to their discriminating ability (p-value ≤ 0.30), replication (p-value > 0.05), and agreement with the rest of the panel.

After the previous tests, 12 panelists were selected to perform a new evaluation of the seven samples, during 4 sessions, using a 9-point scale for each attribute descriptive term. The QDA results were obtained by analyzing the attributes from the sensory profile through Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), followed by a Tukey’s means test and Principal Component Analysis (PCA).

2.6. Consumer Study

For this study, 113 untrained consumers aged from 18 to 60 years who presented habitual consumption of tropical fruit evaluated the seven tamarind functional beverage samples, analyzing appearance, aroma, taste, texture and overall impression of the samples. The test was applied using a 9 cm non-structured linear hedonic scale anchored with “dislike extremely” on the left and with “like extremely” on the right 16.

The acceptance results were analyzed by ANOVA, using two factors (consumer and sample), and Tukey's means test (p < 0.05). The QDA data were compared with the consumer preference data using partial least squares (PLS) regression 24, 25. For statistical analysis, XLSTAT for Windows 26 with a 5% level of significance was used.

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Proximate Composition and Sweetness Ideal

The results of the proximate composition of the base formula beverage (without sucrose) are shown in Table 2.

According to Brazilian resolution 27, the functional beverage can be classified as a low energy food (< 20 kcal / 100 mL), with a non-significant amount of lipids (5 g/100 mL). The proximate composition was not performed for the other samples, since the sweeteners had a very low (close to zero) caloric contribution 28.

These results indicate that the tamarind beverage has a low-calorie claim. Currently there is a growing market for low-calorie and low-sugar products, especially beverages with low-calorie sweeteners 29. In the United States, for example, there is a trend for these products market as national policies and industry efforts encourage manufacturers to reformulate and reduce the energy density of food products 30.

The samples’ ideal sweetness was obtained through the ideal sucrose test by simple linear regression analysis between the hedonic values and the sucrose concentration. The result value was 10.70%, higher than other studies with different fruits, such as mango 17, passion fruit 18, peach 29, and pitanga 31, possibly due to the tamarind acidic property by the presence of tartaric acid 32. However, the high value of sucrose ideal is not only explained by the acidic characteristic of the product, but also by factors like the food pattern of a population.

In Brazil, according to a food consumption survey that analyzed the registration of foods, beverages and preparations consumed inside and outside the household, there was an excessive consumption of sugar by more than 60% of the population 33. Soft drinks and juices are directly related to this high sucrose consumption, indicating the preference of Brazilians for sweeter foods 33, and revealing a concern to replace or reduce the sucrose of these products.

With the ideal sucrose value, the concentration of each sweetener was defined by the magnitude estimation method, where the tasters analyzed coded samples compared to the reference sample with 10.70% sucrose. The logarithmic scale of each sweetener concentration and their sweetness perception as a reference to the sucrose scale, represented by the standard sample is shown in Figure 1. The samples with neotame and neohesperidin required smaller amounts of the product, while a greater amount of stevia was used to obtain a better sweetness perception. The samples with acesulfame-K and saccharin presented intermediate values.

The equivalent concentration and sweetness potency of each sweetener compared to the reference sample with 10.70% sucrose are shown in Table 3. The stevia sample presented the highest equivalent concentration, but with lower sweetness potency (86x). On the other hand, a small amount of neotame was needed to obtain a 5,944 times greater sweetness potency. Neohesperidin also presented a high sweetness potency, inversely proportional to the used concentration. The same concentration and sweetness potency (315x) for acesulfame and saccharin were observed.

The sweetness potency found in the samples with acesulfame-K differed for more, and stevia differed for less from the values found in the literature 17, 28. The substance must first be dissolved into the saliva and then contact the tongue receptors so the sweet taste intensity can be perceived 28. Thus, the high percentage of rebaudioside in the stevia sample and the presence of other substances may interfere with the sweet taste perception mechanism of the samples 34.

3.2. Quantitative Descriptive Analysis (QDA®) and Consumer Study

After obtaining the sweetness ideal and sweetness equivalence of the sweeteners, the seven samples for the QDA were defined. 12 tasters evaluated the attributes appearance, aroma, flavor and texture considering the 17 descriptors. The results of Tukey’s means test are shown in Table 4, where samples with equal caption letters do not differ significantly from each other (p ≤ 0.05).

According to the table, all sweeteners (except stevia), did not present significant difference for important perceptions like tamarind aroma and flavor. Neohesperidin and acesulfame-K presented the lowest intensity for sweet taste, while stevia presented the highest perception of sweet taste and bitter taste. Sucrose and sucralose were the sweeteners with the lowest perception of bitter taste, while neohesperidin showed the highest intensity refreshment sensation.

These results are supported by the literature. Sucralose, for example, is known to have less bitter taste compared to other sweeteners 35, while stevia has a bitter component and neohesperidin has a very slow sweetening speed and residual taste of menthol, which is responsible for the refreshment sensation 28. The lower bitter perception of sucralose may be a determining factor in its choice, since it is reported as the most used sweetener by consumers 29.

The bi-dimensional representation of the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the samples’ descriptive terms are shown in Figure 2A. The red vectors represent the QDA defined descriptors, while the blue circles are the descriptors PCA. Principal components 1 and 2 together explain 69.24% of the variations between the samples. The stevia sample is isolated from the other ones, indicating a difference regarding the sensory attributes. The proximity of saccharin and neohesperidin indicates a possible similarity, especially as to appearance by the presence of particles.

  • Table 4. Tukey's means of Quantitative Descriptive Analysis (QDA) of the functional tamarind beverage for the terms sensorial descriptors evaluated. Means in the same line showing common letter are not significantly different (p ≥ 0.05)

According to the external preference map (Figure 2B) the consumers (represented by the blue circles) were concentrated next to the samples (green squares) with greater acceptance. There is a higher concentration of consumers close to the sucrose and sucralose samples, characterized by acid aroma and viscosity. On the opposite side, stevia had the lower concentration of consumers. The sweetener is characterized by bitter taste, residual sweet and residual bitter, which possibly were considered as negative characteristics for the sample.

The correlation between the overall impression and sensory descriptors is shown in Figure 3. The columns on the positive side of the Y axis are positively correlated with the acceptance of the functional tamarind beverage samples, while the columns on the negative side represent the attributes that were negatively correlated with the samples’ acceptance. The vertical lines represent a 95% confidence interval. The astringency was the only attribute that affected negatively sample’s choice, i.e., the higher the astringency the smaller the acceptance of the sample.

The astringency perception in the results can be originated by the interaction of the tannins present in the tamarind pulp with the salivary proteins of the buccal mucosa. This perception is considered as an unpleasant sensory attribute, characterized as a dry and frowned mucosa sensation, observed mainly with the consumption of foods of plant origin due to the amount of proanthocyanins 36, 37.

Due to this negative association of astringency sensation with the product acceptance, it is necessary to identify means that allow a lesser perception of this stimulus. Some environmental factors associated with tamarind production, such as soil characteristics of each production site, season of the year, stage of development and mineral availability affect the level of tannins in the fruits and, therefore, in the astringency perception. There are also several secondary treatments available in the food industries that can decrease the astringency level in fruits, so it is necessary to identify the best process that can be used in the preparation of beverages.

4. Conclusion

There was an evident impact of the different sweetening agents used in the sensory profile and acceptance in the studied beverage. With the QDA®, neohesperidin and acesulfame-K had the lowest intensity for sweet taste, while stevia presented the highest perception of sweet taste and bitter taste. Sucrose and sucralose presented the lowest perception of bitter taste, while neohesperidin showed the highest intensity of refreshment sensation. Consumers found stevia as the sweetener with the highest bitter taste perception, sweet and bitter aftertaste. The consumer study also showed that the beverage astringency attribute negatively affected the preference. Other studies are encouraged to evaluate the duration of different perceptions resulting from the addition of sweeteners in the functional tamarind beverage or other fruits and vegetables.

Acknowledgements

This study was financed in part by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brazil (CAPES) – Finance Code 001.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2020 Rafael Sousa Lima and Helena Maria André Bolini

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Normal Style
Rafael Sousa Lima, Helena Maria André Bolini. Impact of Non-nutritive Sweeteners on the Sensory Profile and Acceptance of a Functional Tamarind Beverage. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. Vol. 8, No. 1, 2020, pp 26-32. http://pubs.sciepub.com/jfnr/8/1/4
MLA Style
Lima, Rafael Sousa, and Helena Maria André Bolini. "Impact of Non-nutritive Sweeteners on the Sensory Profile and Acceptance of a Functional Tamarind Beverage." Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 8.1 (2020): 26-32.
APA Style
Lima, R. S. , & Bolini, H. M. A. (2020). Impact of Non-nutritive Sweeteners on the Sensory Profile and Acceptance of a Functional Tamarind Beverage. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 8(1), 26-32.
Chicago Style
Lima, Rafael Sousa, and Helena Maria André Bolini. "Impact of Non-nutritive Sweeteners on the Sensory Profile and Acceptance of a Functional Tamarind Beverage." Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 8, no. 1 (2020): 26-32.
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  • Figure 1. Relation between perceived sweetness and sweetener concentrations of the tamarind functional beverage by logarithmic scale
  • Figure 2. (A) Principal Component Analysis (PCA) generated with the sensory data for appearance, aroma, flavor and texture of the tamarind functional beverage. (B) External preference map. Axes t1 and t2 were obtained by partial least squares regression of descriptive data and respondent’s overall liking scores for the sensory attributes of the tamarind functional beverage (square = samples; blue circle = consumers; red circle = QDA attributes)
  • Figure 3. Partial least squares standardized coefficients of the tamarind functional beverage (red = descriptor term with negative contribution to consumer acceptance)
  • Table 3. Equivalent concentration and sweetness potency of the tamarind functional beverage compared to the reference sample with 10.70% of sucrose
  • Table 4. Tukey's means of Quantitative Descriptive Analysis (QDA) of the functional tamarind beverage for the terms sensorial descriptors evaluated. Means in the same line showing common letter are not significantly different (p ≥ 0.05)
[1]  World Health Organization, Global Report on Diabetes, World Health Organization, 2016.
In article      
 
[2]  J. Jacobsen, New product development outlook: natural replaces organic as top attribute, Beverage Ind., 2016.
In article      
 
[3]  ITAL, Brasil Ingredients Trends 2020, ITAL, 2016.
In article      
 
[4]  B. Harfmann, Consumers opt for healthy, functional beverages, Beverage Ind., 2018.
In article      
 
[5]  ITAL, Brasil Beverage Trends 2020, ITAL, 2016.
In article      
 
[6]  T.U. Passos, Consumo alimentar cearense: índice glicêmico e carga glicêmica de alimentos regionais e impacto potencial no risco de doenças crônicas não transmissíveis, Thesis, Universidade Estadual do Ceará, 2012.
In article      
 
[7]  S. Natukunda, J.H. Muyonga, I.M. Mukisa, “Effect of tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) seed on antioxidant activity, phytocompounds, physicochemical characteristics, and sensory acceptability of enriched cookies and mango juice”, Food Sci. Nutr. 4 (4), 494-507, October 2015.
In article      View Article  PubMed  PubMed
 
[8]  A. Jain, S. Bhadoriya, A. Ganeshpurkar, J. Narwaria, G. Rai, “Tamarindus indica: Extent of explored potential”, Pharmacogn. Rev. 5 (9), 73-81, January 2011.
In article      View Article  PubMed  PubMed
 
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