Having trouble converting a sugar substitute for sugar?

Does your baked good turn out too bland or too sweet?

Or maybe you have found the perfect sweet spot but the texture isn’t quite right. No matter what you do, just can’t get it right.

Struggling to make your cupcake soft, sweet, and fudgy like the ones that are made with sugar?

Do you often find that your treats have an unpleasant, off-taste with a little of bitter or metallic linger?

Does this sound like you?

You have come to the right place! Let us help you turn that into:

Working with stevia has never been so easy!”

In this post, we will help you understand why it may not be as straight forward as replacing 1 cup of sugar for 1 cup of sugar substitute.

The Break Through of Sugar Reduction in Food & Beverages:
SugarLike’s 3D Holistic Approach

Sugar reduction is evolving around the globe. The political pressures from governments to control the issues of rising global obesity and diabetes, the expectations for a superior experience from technology, and the changes in consumer attitudes, behaviours and expectations on healthier food and lifestyle. All these forces drive the future of sugar reduction, but not just any kind of substitute. New behaviours and attitudes towards healthier products in the market, especially from Millennials create the demand for more than just the sweetness that mimics sugar, but pushes for a complete satisfactory experience with sweets from a natural source.

SugarLike’s holistic approach to sweet taste is focused on consumer’s sensory experience. Our holistic 3D profiling helps us understand how consumers experience taste synergistically so that sugar substitute products can be fully satisfying.

Beyond just sugar ‘substitute’

Our taste bud is accustomed to the sweet taste of sucrose or table sugar that we grew up with. It is more than just simply how ‘sweet’. Our taste experience comprises what we would describe as a 3 dimension sweetness. The sweet taste that we are all familiar with does not rely only on the ‘intensity’ or ‘sweetness level’ but also many more criteria that make up the beautiful complete sweet taste.

Sweetness isn’t the only driver of liking!

Why sugar reduction might be important to you and your consumers

Nowadays, consumers expect more than simply “less is better” from sugar reduction. Less sugar WITHOUT CHANGE in TASTE is now the expectations that consumers have for sugar-free bakeries. We understand that taste is always a major factor, this is why our natural sweeteners are equally great in taste as its qualities.

Taste is the bottom line

When it comes to sugar reduction or complete sugar replacement, reduced sugar products need to stand on their own and taste great. At SugarLike, we always think of a complete consumer experience, giving them the full satisfaction in terms of taste. We take the holistic approach to create fully satisfying natural sweeteners without the OFF TASTE that you may have experiences with other sweeteners.

To help you understand, take an apple as an example. The sweet taste that you get from apples is only a part of what makes apple so delicious, ”Aniseed” and “citrus” are examples of other important flavours that complete the whole taste experience. You can see Agroscope’s flavour wheel for apple, demonstrating all the possible flavours offered in one bite of an apple. 

We will explain this to you in terms of instruments, where each instrument represents each ingredient. Because like music, you need all the components to harmonize in the most precise way to create this beautiful piece of music.

SugarLike’s Holistic Approach to the The Three Dimensions of Sweet Taste

First criteria: The INTENSITY of the sweet taste or HOW SWEET is it

Let’s imagine that we have an instrument. The intensity simply means how loud or soft. This is the same for sweetness. We can simply describe the sweetness as a definite number, on a scale or as a percentage. In a sensory examination, we would give sucrose a standard 5% sweetness. When something is less sweet than sugar, they would be lower than 5%, when it is the same sweetness as sucrose then examiners would report a 5%. The highest intensity, or the peak, is what we would normally report as the sweet intensity value.

Now, sometimes we cannot detect this peak as early as we expect. This means that we sometimes have to wait a few seconds to finally taste this peak ‘sweetness’ after ingesting the food. This leads us to the second criteria.

Second criteria: The DURATION of sweetness or HOW LONG it lasts.

This is a measurement from when the sweetness “onsets” and “lingers”. Onset simply means when we can first taste the ‘sweet’ component of the solution and linger simply means how long you can taste the sweetness until it disappears. The lingering of flavours appear in all types of foods. With sugar alternatives, you may be most familiar with the bitter taste, metallic and liquorice tastes that are common in most natural sweeteners. Sometimes, you may also get a fruity and herby taste.

Third criteria: The COMPLEXITY of the sweet taste, including body, functionality, texture, flavours, and linger.

You may notice that some sweeteners can have a high sweetness level but still taste very bland, have a thin and water-like consistency. When it comes to taste, it important to think beyond one dimension or “how sweet is it”. The other components like a full bodied flavour and impactful taste are as important. The different lingering of flavours such as the ‘eggy taste’, ‘citrusy taste’, or ‘herby taste’ can all be affected by the interactions of all ingredients including a sweetener. With the perfect sweet spot, flavours will harmonize instead of masking one another.

The Harmony Between Flavours and Taste

The functionality of the sweetener is equally important. A good quality sweetener should be able to replace sugar and still deliver the desired texture that sugar provides. Unlike most sweeteners in the market today, SugarLike sweetener even caramelizes in baking!

Heat stability, pH stability, the rise in a cake, all of these are important considerations and of course, NO-OFF FLAVOURS.

Here is an example of a comparison between cupcakes made with another sugar substitute versus SugarLike’s sweetener. Very quickly, only just a few minutes after the cupcakes were taken out of the oven, we noticed a big difference in crystallization (white powdering) and moisture of the cupcakes. The more important point though is the taste. SugarLike’s cupcake is sweet, but not overly sweet that it overwhelms the other buttery and cacao flavours that makes an excellent cupcake. After several minutes before refrigerating and a few hours after refrigerating, the cupcakes baked with SugarLike remained soft and fudgy, while the other has already hardened and lost its flavours.

Green cupcake is sweetened with SugarLike. The other one with another alternative sweetener.

Read our comparison post to find out how SugarLike sweeteners deliver desirable results in baking.

Now, as you can see from this comparison, all of these criteria have to be BALANCED and INTEGRATED AS ONE. The first impact as well as the ending notes are equally important. The duration and timing, the sweetness level and complexities all play a part in delivering a satisfactory taste from the very first bite (or sip). In most applications, we expect the flavours and sweet taste to be at its peak in the first few seconds without much lingering of the flavours. The sweetness level should complement, not mask, the other flavours to deliver the enjoyable consumer tasting experience.

Now, as you can see from this comparison, all of these criteria have to be BALANCED and INTEGRATED AS ONE. The first impact as well as the ending notes are equally important. The duration and timing, the sweetness level and complexities all play a part in delivering a satisfactory taste from the very first bite (or sip). In most applications, we expect the flavours and sweet taste to be at its peak in the first few seconds without much lingering of the flavours. The sweetness level should complement, not mask, the other flavours to deliver the enjoyable consumer tasting experience.

All of the above criteria have to play their parts, in the perfect amount and in the right timing, to create this beautiful piece of sweet treat. This is why sugar substitution is not as simple as how sweet it is. It involves the complexity and functionality that can eventually lead to a very different result if not fully integrated as one.

“When we talk about taste, we’re talking about just the stuff that interacts with your tongue, the sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami taste buds. Flavor, on the other hand, is a combination of taste, aroma, texture, what you can hear, what you can see—all of those senses coming together to take the experience to another level.” – David Kamen (More about how he differentiates flavours and taste here)

At NutraEx Food Inc., we fully understand these complexities and are equipped with the skills and technology to deliver the beautiful, harmonized results for your bakery. Our patented, encapsulated sweeteners are naturally sourced and are suitable different applications.

In many applications, where high-intensity sweeteners like Stevia extract is to be used, you cannot simply replace sugar with another natural sweetener directly. With any high potency stevia extract, you can be off by only 10 PPM and the final product can spell disaster.

Most applications require some adjustments to the formula, to replace the functionality and space that was provided by sugar. We understand the intricate tweaks that are necessary to produce a truly great tasting food product with stevia or monk fruit as the sweetener. A delicate balance is necessary to reach an optimal taste profile.

Our goal is to deliver low-to-no-sugar sweets so satisfying that everyone can still enjoy their favourite treat. Whatever is driving your need for sugar reduction, our team at SugarLike will help you discover and adapt to the rapidly changing demands and create the product of your dream.

“For us it was only a dream, you made it possible thank you so much”
Your sugar-free bakery 100% possible100%
  • Agroscope, I. J. (n.d.). The world’s first flavour wheel for apples. Retrieved January 2020, from https://www.agroscope.admin.ch/agroscope/en/home/topics/food/sensory-analysis/sensory-analysis-of-plant-products/aromarad-aepfel.html
  • Kamen, D. (2014, December 1). The Harmony Between Taste and Flavor. Retrieved January 2020, from https://www.fsrmagazine.com/harmony-between-taste-and-flavor