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Q&A: Stevia Formulation Challenges

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor
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This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.

Since the US Food and Drug Administration’s (US FDA) 2008 acknowledgement of stevia’s “self-determined” GRAS status, numerous flavor and ingredient companies have pursued stevia offerings and stevia-friendly flavor solutions. The natural sweetener’s tendency to impart bitterness has been the focus of several companies’ flavor efforts, which have been widely reported here and elsewhere. Recently, P&F magazine asked Varuzhan Abelyan—corporate vice president of science and technology for PureCircle and a rebaudioside A (reb-A) pioneer—about the various complications attending formulations incorporating stevia, labeling issues and more. Abelyan will be among the key presenters during the National Association of Flavors and Food-Ingredient Systems meeting on May 28 at the Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center in Somerset, New Jersey (www.naffs.org).

P&F: How is stevia different from other sweeteners in terms of taste and barriers to flavor formulation?

Abelyan: As with any other high intensity sweeteners (HIS), stevia-based sweeteners can’t be used as a mechanical substitute of sucrose and will require certain flavoring solutions for use in different food categories. It has to be noted that unlike many other HIS, stevia sweeteners possess a more “sucroselike” taste profile, which make them less challenging to find proper flavor solutions for each food and beverage group. Also, it is natural, pH- and thermo-stable, non-allergenic and has no [known] side effects. However, stevia sweeteners may display some bitterness at higher concentrations levels. Overcoming this issue is already on the agenda of the all main flavor houses … and most of them have already reported promising initial results.

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