Natural Compounds that Enhance the Perception of Sweetness

Technology #14111

Invention

The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing a series of naturally occurring compounds that enhance people’s perception of sweetness. These flavor volatiles augment the sensation of sweet taste produced by sugars. New products incorporating these sweetness enhancers could have reduced sugar levels while maintaining the same perceived level of sweetness and thus capture a greater portion of the reduced-calorie market. Consumers continue to demand foods and drinks with a high level of sweetness. However, the amount of sugar needed to achieve the sweetness levels preferred by consumers also promotes tooth decay, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. While artificial sweeteners offer a lower-calorie alternative to refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup, these products do not completely mimic the taste of natural sugars. Some may even cause other health problems when consumed in large quantities. Recent studies have revealed that flavor volatiles in foods and beverages affect how consumers perceive their sweetness, but available products do not capitalize on this connection between smell and flavor. Researchers at the University of Florida have identified a group of naturally occurring compounds that enhance the perception of sweetness. Products incorporating the compounds identified by UF researchers, when used along with sugar in consumer products, will enhance perception of sweetness, allowing less sugar to be added.

Application

Naturally occurring compounds that enhance consumers' perception of sweet flavor by stimulating the olfactory system

Advantages

  • Aroma volatiles can be combined with added sugar to optimize sweet taste
  • Reduces the amount of sugar that needs to be added to achieve same level of perceived sweetness
  • Derived from natural ingredients, making them a more attractive alternative to chemically synthesized artificial sweeteners
  • Can be used to mask unpleasant flavors in sour and bitter medications, permitting a secondary application

Technology

University of Florida researchers have identified a series of naturally-occurring volatile compounds that enhance perception of sweetness generated by tasting low concentrations of sugar. These aroma volatiles intensify sweetness in the central nervous system and thereby modify how people sense sweetness imparted by sugars in the food or drink.