According to the intelligent research consulting report, the market scale of sugar free beverage increased from 1.66 billion yuan in 2014 to 11.78 billion yuan in 2020, with an annual growth rate of 38.69%, far exceeding the total growth rate of the beverage industry.
But for sugar free drinks, is subtraction enough?
Obviously, comments such as “bad” and “light” everywhere on social platforms tell us that subtraction is not enough. Consumers don’t want the burden of sugar, but they can never get rid of the idea of “sweet”.
It is a difficult problem for the new generation of beverage industry to enjoy both health and sweetness. In the face of the sweet habit that consumers can’t give up, the innovation and breakthrough of sugar reduction technology must be the important driving point of the industry in the future.
Behind the popularity of sugar free drinks, sugar substitutes ushered in explosive growth
After more than ten years of market cultivation, sugar free beverage has finally reached its peak. With the explosion of sugar free drinks, the key upstream sugar substitute industry also took advantage of the wind and ushered in explosive growth. According to public information, the share prices of a number of related listed companies rose sharply.
At present, the common sugar substitutes on the market include erythritol, sucralose, acesulfame, aspartame and stevioside, among which erythritol has become a hot rookie with the help of popular products and natural low calorie advantages.
Behind the scenes, more problems emerge
According to the data, the global erythritol market in 2019 is about US $225.6 million, about RMB 1.579 billion. At present, it is not easy to shake the sugar or sugar substitute industry. What’s more, in front of erythritol, there are several mountains to be solved.
The first is cost. Among the mainstream sweeteners, erythritol is very low in sweetness. Compared with the high sweetener whose sweetness is hundreds of times higher than sucrose, erythritol costs 4-6 times to reach the same sweetness level. The price of erythritol has doubled compared with the beginning of this year, from 16000 yuan / ton to 32000 yuan / ton, and the quotation of individual manufacturers even exceeded 40000 yuan / ton. What’s more, they began to sell erythritol by way of bidding.
Rising market demand also poses new challenges for erythritol production capacity. At present, there are only 4-5 erythritol manufacturers with a certain production scale, and the total capacity is limited. Even if several erythritol manufacturers are actively expanding production, the capacity is far from meeting the future market expectations.
In addition, when all kinds of food begin to be free of saccharification, the daily intake of sugar substitutes of consumers is also a problem worthy of attention. Even erythritol, which has a high degree of trust at present, is suspected to have potential health risks. Studies have shown that excessive erythritol intake will have the risk of bowel sounds and diarrhea. The upper limit of tolerance for adults and children is 0.78 g and 0.71 g per kg body weight respectively. In order to ensure that children can also eat safely, the European Food Safety Agency recommends that the maximum content of erythritol in each food or drink is 0.6 g / kg body weight .
After several iterations, the evolution of glycogen has no end
Since the first generation of sweetener saccharin came out in 1879, the sweetener has developed to the sixth generation. From focusing on safety, to focusing on functionality, to focusing on taste, cost performance and source, human pursuit of “sweet” has been evolving, and standards are constantly updated.
Healthy and addictive, young people’s simple and crude view of sweetness
The most direct reason for choosing sugar free drinks lies in young people’s health anxiety and appearance anxiety. Dr. clove’s national health insight report shows that young people’s health self rating is far lower than that of the previous generation, so they began to pay attention to health preservation behavior early, and “sugar free” is the first step to put it into practice.
On the other hand, the trouble is that despite the need for health, young people also attach great importance to the taste, taste and experience of food and drinks. Sufficient and healthy “addiction” is the direct weapon to hook consumers.
Feedback to the product level, consumers’ preference for the product is usually to feel which drink tastes better, more natural and more memorable. How to achieve the ideal “good drink” of consumers is a test of the formula developers’ understanding and mastery of the existing and new technologies: how to fully mobilize the multiple senses of consumers and meet the multi-dimensional needs of consumers for “addiction”?!
“ “Sweet addiction” is a complex and comprehensive experience
Each sweet taste corresponds to different product carriers, different time and space, different scenes and emotions. The interactive feelings between consumers and the product – from opening the package to drinking, through the whole experience of vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch – are the conditions for “addictive” hedonic factors.
That is to say, consumers’ addiction to sweet is composed of two aspects: on the one hand, “from the bottom up”, that is, from seeing, hearing, drinking and feeling, including multi sensory and multi touch stimulation from food; On the other hand, “top-down”, including food cognition, emotion and memory, will further affect consumers’ pleasure cognition. For example, the drinking experience of sugar free drinks should be matched with consumers’ cognition and memory of “whole sugar” as far as possible, so that consumers will think that they are “good”.
In a word, to find “sweetness” to please consumers, we should not only be satisfied with simply adding sweetness, but also jointly stimulate the blissful points in the brain in more dimensions, so that the brain’s cognition of sugar free can match the memory of whole sugar, so as to finally realize the experience of “addictive” enjoyment.
Another way to reduce sugar: from the perspective of overall flavor
One of the most critical factors to consider when replacing sucrose is, of course, sweetness. But just having “sweetness” should not be all that sugar free drinks have. Through the study of brain operation mechanism, we can find that the high preference of beverage is not a specific smell or taste, but the result of brain perception of the overall flavor.
For sugar free drinks, the effect will be more significant if we start with the three core elements to improve the sugar free defects.
Insight into this key point, known as “the first person of neuro sweetness flavor”, is the name of the first of its kind. It proposes a whole solution for sugar reducing / sugar free beverages Development — Proust ™ Proust nerve sweet flavor can not only increase sweetness, speed up sweetening, sweeten the tongue, and eliminate peculiar smell, but also enhance the aroma and mellow taste while optimizing the sweetness, and continuously stimulate the brain’s bliss from the touch of taste, aroma and taste, and achieve the “perfect sucrose flavor”.
In the overall flavor scheme, olfaction, especially postnasal olfaction, is actually very important, but it is often the most neglected part. Postnasal olfaction plays an important role in the chain of brain flavor perception and recognition, which determines 80% of the flavor perception.
The Proust flavour solution proposed by Yi is different from that of the traditional nose flavor before “smelling the scent”, but it can complement the nose aroma after “drinking in the fragrance”, effectively enhance the brain flavor perception link, accelerate the flavor recognition, and help establish the grass planting mechanism from preference to desire to aftertaste, thus creating a pleasant experience.
Specifically, before tasting the drink, people can smell the strong aroma through their nose (nose aroma) to attract the attention of the brain, win the initial preference of consumers, and make people willing to drink it; After drinking into the mouth, the delicious beverage has pleasant taste, taste and aroma after nose, which makes people have the desire to swallow; After swallowing, the pleasant aroma behind the nose causes “aftertaste” in the brain. From preference to desire to aftertaste, it can reach the golden curve of beverage drinking, so that consumers are willing to be planted with grass.
In the past, we focused on the physical and chemical aspects of sugar substitutes. However, with the continuous upgrading and progress of technology and science, our understanding of sensory science has gradually become clear. Maybe the next battlefield of sugar reduction should be in the brain.