Recovering Market Share
Carbonated drinks date back to the 18th Century, when scientists began replicating nature-based carbonated water. Over time, and with technological developments, carbonated soft drinks sales began to grow, packaging concepts progressed and variations in inclusions became predominant.
Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSD) are still very much consumed today and are part of many consumers’ daily diets. This segment accounts for more than a quarter of all drinks consumed globally.
However, today’s consumers are seeking healthier alternatives due to the unhealthy connotation these beverages increasingly carry. Obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay have been linked to carbonated soft drink consumption, not just in adults but also in children. Governments and health organizations are picking up the pace on awareness and the contributing factors CSDs can have on consumer health.
Since CSDs are often blamed due to their high sugar and calorie content, beverage manufacturers are looking to produce healthier low/no sugar varieties as well as low calorie/diet versions.
Sugar does more than just add calories, it provides important sensory properties to beverages. That is why the full-sugar products remain very popular despite the caloric impact they have. Sugar adds “body,” or “mouthfeel,” to a beverage and makes the flavour more pleasant. It also has a positive effect on reducing the aftertaste that is sometimes associated with the high intensity sweeteners.
By using hydrocolloids or gums, a beverage can be formulated that better mimics the ideal represented by full sugar products, without the calorific content.
Light Carbonated Fruit Juice Drinks
With growing concerns about the sugar content of traditional carbonated soft drinks, manufacturers have responded by introducing sugar free/reduced calorie subcategories. However these are in turn not fitting the image of today’s health conscious consumers.
The supermarket shelves are starting to make space for a new carbonated soft drinks category. There is a trend toward lightly carbonated beverages containing real fruit juice, creating versions that are more healthy and nutritious than traditional carbonated soft drinks.
Formulating beverages with real fruit juice, without artificial flavours or colours, allows products to better compete with more dynamic beverages such as energy drinks, fortified waters and 100% juices.
Further Differentiating Through the Use of Hydrocolloids
CP Kelco’s products serve many functions for lightly carbonated juice drinks, including thickening, suspension, stabilization and manipulating mouthfeel. Secondly, hydrocolloids can enhance body and mouthfeel in low-calorie versions without impacting the flavour of the beverage, so reducing sugar content is made easy.
CP Kelco hydrocolloids can be used as aids to recover body and mouthfeel when formulating no or reduced-sugar beverages. They can also used to enhance the mouthfeel of full-sugar beverages to suit diverse cultural and regional tastes. The unique ability to provide suspension of pulp, minerals and nutrients provides the opportunity to formulate novel healthy drinks. To meet the needs of the label-conscious consumers, most CP Kelco hydrocolloids support a “nature-based” or “organic” label claim.
Achieving Desirable Mouthfeel
Mouthfeel is often described as the “weight,” “body” or “substance” that a beverage has when being consumed. Recent experimental evidence has shown this mouthfeel can come from two complimentary properties of a hydrocolloid. One of those is the increase in density that comes from using a gum like GENU® pectin. Typical use levels of 0.2% or so confer a small but important increase in density that enhances body.
A second method to build body in a beverage is to increase the viscosity with an efficient thickener like KELTROL® xanthan gum or CEKOL® cellulose gum. The use level is even lower in this case, having minimal effect on density. But, an increase in viscosity of even 2 mPa*s (cP) can be noticed and contributes to improved mouthfeel. Of course, combinations of gums can be used to tailor the body of the beverage to your exact requirements.
GENU® Pectin | The Nature-Based Choice
Recovering Mouthfeel/Reducing Sugar: Formulating with GENU pectin is an excellent way to recover mouthfeel when reducing or removing sugar in carbonated beverages. GENU pectin can also be used to build mouthfeel with high clarity requirements. At typical beverage use levels, the rheological profile of GENU pectin is similar to that of sugar solutions. This means that when consumed, a reduced-sugar beverage containing GENU pectin can have a mouthfeel which mimics its full-sugar counterpart.
Excellent Flavour Release: Due to the low use level, GENU pectin can build body in the CSD without masking the flavours inherent to the drink and may impart improved refreshment in fruitflavoured CSD.
GENU® BETA Pectin | The Perfect Partner to Flavour Oils
CP Kelco manufactures a specialty grade of pectin extracted from sugar beets in GENU® BETA Pectin. GENU BETA pectin contains acetylated groups which, due to their hydrophobic nature, can help with the emulsification of oil-in-water systems such as flavour emulsions.
Flavour Oil Emulsion Stability: In fruit-based carbonated beverages, flavour emulsions can have a positive impact on the quality and flavour perception. GENU BETA pectin is attracted to the flavour oil droplets, creating polymer-rich zones around them, preventing the coalescence and creaming of the oil droplets. As a result of good emulsion stability, GENU BETA pectin reduces oil ring formation and improves cloud stability in the final drink.
Concentrate Viscosity: Due to its unique molecular structure, GENU BETA pectin is a non-gelling grade of pectin, and is an excellent viscosifier for concentrated fruit beverages. Typical pectin cangel in the concentrate and is not able to be used at the bottling stage because of higher viscosity/gel. GENU BETA pectin will not gel under these conditions, so it can be effectively used to stabilize the concentrate and when this is diluted down by the bottler it will add mouthfeel to the final drink.
KELTROL® Xanthan Gum | The Standard for Thickening and Stabilizing
Body and Mouthfeel: KELTROL’s pseudoplastic flow behavior provides high viscosities at low shear rates to help improve suspension and emulsification, yet provides good flow properties when poured. The slight increase in viscosity resulting from very low use levels imparts the sensation of enhanced body, ideal for sugar-free or reduced-calorie soft drinks.
Excellent Flavour Release: KELTROL’s high degree of pseudoplasticity means the beverage will have body but not seem syrupy.
Low pH/Acid Stability: KELTROL, due to its molecular structure, has excellent pH stability – down to pH 2.7 – such that it is very tolerant to the high acid environment of traditional carbonated soft drinks. This acid stability allows the manufacturer to produce sugar-free or diet beverages with the mouthfeel of full-sugar drinks. Special grades of KELTROL exist that provide stability similar to and greater than high intensity sweeteners such as aspartame. Stabilizers such as guar will hydrolyze at low pH, and the beverage will lose viscosity over time.
KELCOGEL®Gellan Gum | The Fluid Gel – An Innovative Suspension System
Function in High pH Ranges: Enhanced viscosity stability is achieved at pH 3.8 and above. However, at lower pH, CEKOL cellulose gum can still add viscosity and enhance mouthfeel. CEKOL is normally used for dry mix beverages for this reason and can have the same positive effect for CSDs. It is most appropriate where very low pH values and extremely long storage stability are not required.
“IN-USE” Flexibility – CP Kelco Makes it Easy
Water soluble polymers normally need to be mixed with equipment having more shear than the colors, sweeteners, acids and other ingredients normally used in beverage formulations. If this equipment is not available, there are some alternatives available for CP Kelco customers.
CP Kelco has developed special easily dispersible grades of many of our products that can be mixed with less shear than a typical hydrocolloid. In other cases, the use of a power eductor funnel will allow customers to use our speciality products, with minimal mixing.
Finally, CP Kelco technical teams will work directly with process engineers to develop a small scale gum premix system that will allow effective hydration with gum concentrates. These can be diluted in the low-shear mix equipment normally used. Please consult with our technical representatives in order to tailor a system to meet your individual needs.