Current surveys show there has been a significant increase in the number of people who are overweight. It is therefore ever more important to produce sugar-free foods whose characteristics are as close as possible to those of the sugar-containing reference products. The currently available sugar-free products have significant sensory shortcomings and are often refused by consumers. More serious is the occurrence of gastro-intestinal indigestibility caused by the excessive consumption of sugar substitutes.
The objective of this research project is to develop new sugar-free systems for manufacturing a wide range of sugar-free foods and to adapt these to the requirements of food manufacturers.
Simply replacing the sucrose (household sugar) in foods with sweeteners is often not successful. This is because the sugar not only gives the foods their pleasant sweet taste but also provides structure, texture and volume. That is why sugar-free products often have an empty and inharmonious taste, even when artificial sweeteners provide sweetness. Comprehensive analytical and sensory tests will allow the texture-giving substances and sweet and aromatic substances to be combined with each other in a type of toolbox system in order to manufacture a wide range of customized foods. Taking into account the complex interplay of sweetness and texture, optimum combinations of these substances will be used.
To achieve this, the physical, chemical and sensory properties of a range of components must first of all be analyzed alone and in combination. The model tests are followed by recipe development in close collaboration with food manufacturers, as well as consumer surveys, storage tests, economic appraisal and market analysis. The project results will facilitate the market introduction of products for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
A new network has been formed for this project. This network comprises the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV (project coordinator), the Department of Nutrition and Home Economics at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and 6 industrial partners.