Effect of sugar reduction on aroma release in carbonated soft drinks

January 30, 2018

In light of the impending sugar tax, soft drinks manufacturers are exploring sugar reduction and substitution in their product development and reformulation efforts. This research seeks to understand the effect of aroma-matrix interactions in the context of carbonated beverages.

The main aim was to understand the effect of sweetener and carbonation on aroma release using Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionisation–Mass Spectrometry (APCI–MS). An increase in sugar concentration from 0 – 30% weight/volume resulted in a significant increase in in-vitro aroma release in the static headspace under equilibrium conditions for majority of the compounds studied, owing to the phenomenon of ‘salting out’ as the reduction in the volume of free water available for the solubilisation of aroma compounds shifted the partition equilibrium towards the gas phase.


On the other hand, there was no significant effect of sucrose on the in-vivo aroma delivery in the breath of individuals during the consumption of beverages from the soft drink model. However, the introduction of carbonation did result in a significant decrease in in-vivo aroma delivery during breath-by-breath analysis. The disparity between in-vitro and in-vivo results highlight the importance of in-vivo studies, which simulate the real consumption experience. Especially since beverage consumption is a fast and dynamic event whereby aroma compounds do not reach an equilibrium. 


While this research provides insights on aroma-matrix interactions in carbonated systems through in-vitro and in-vivo aroma analyses, the variety and complexity of mechanisms involved continue to limit our understanding of aroma release, delivery and perception. Thus, an integrated approach combining instrumental techniques and sensory methods could be adopted in future by coupling APCI–MS with time-intensity sensory evaluation. 


If you would like more information or would like to discuss this research further please contact Yeo HuiQi


Each year EFFoST and Cargill present the student of the year award to six students and also give them the opportunity to show case their research. In this article Yeo HuiQi who won the 1st prize for the MSc student of the year award discusses her research. Currently Yeo is a PhD. Candidate at Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading.


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