CP Kelco uncovers secrets of mouthfeel
how 'mouthfeel' is developed in beverages.
The company claims that the research could strengthen the link between the physical properties and sensory effects of products, and help food makers choose the right level of thickeners to use.
Following tests, CP Kelco found evidence to suggest that building body into a beverage is not just a matter of adding viscosity.
The company found that the density of the beverage was also a contributor.
In other words, appealing mouthfeel came from the thickness of the beverage as well as the specific gravity it has.
Thickeners, such as pectin, which have a low viscosity, can help to building mouthfeel from both density and viscosity. Higher viscosity products such as xanthan gum, says CP Kelco, can build up body from viscosity alone.
Interestingly, the company found that flavour and aroma properties showed little changed as the thickener varied. This suggests that mouthfeel can be thought of as being independent of the flavour and aroma of the product.
Food makers can therefore change thickener systems without necessarily affecting the end product taste.
For the tests, a range of CP Kelco thickeners were chosen to be included in a model, fruit flavoured beverage sweetened with a blend of high intensity sweeteners.
Thickeners included pectin, xanthan, cellulose gum and gellan gum. These samples were compared to a negative control (no thickener) and a positive control (sugar only).
A panel of 12 experts tested these samples using Tragon Corporation's QDA technique, in order to evaluate nearly 40 different sensory attributes.
QDA is a form of sensory evaluation where panel members develop the language needed to completely describe a product. Once this language is developed, the panel members begin the process of individual sample evaluation.
Appearance, flavour, mouthfeel and aftertaste were all rated on a 0-60 scale. These same samples were put through a detailed instrumental evaluation.
Rheological tests, such as flow curves, were performed, as well as density and electronic nose and electronic tongue measurements.
Hydrocolloids such as xanthan gum and pectin are used extensively by the food industry to texturise and stabilise food products from beverages to ice cream. Though these products are sensitive to spiralling raw material costs, the demand for hydrocolloids remains impressive.