Bakers Journal

Dried fruit can create “full-sugar” illusion

June 15, 2018
By Bakers Journal

In a consumer sensory panel, reduced-sugar cookies containing pieces of dried concentrated fruit pieces were perceived to be just as sweet as full-sugar alternatives.

Researchers from Taura Natural Ingredients set out to test the ability of the pieces to overcome the challenge of decreased sweetness and flavour in sugar-reduced cookies. Twenty-six untrained panellists blind-tasted a full-sugar cookie, a cookie with 30 per cent reduced added sugar, and a cookie with 49 per cent reduced added sugar with unsweetened dried concentrated fruit pieces.  

The two reduced sugar recipes had similar sugar content due to the sugars that occur naturally in the fruit. An added benefit of this inclusion was that they increased the fibre content of the cookies by 60 per cent.

Reduced-sugar cookies containing the concentrated fruit pieces were not perceived to be less sweet than a full sugar alternative, even though they contained 30 per cent less sugar. The cookies with pieces of dried fruit outscored both full-sugar and standard reduced-sugar options on overall taste and came closest to optimum sweetness.


Sweetness was also evaluated on a seven-point hedonic scale, with a score of four corresponding to “just sweet enough.”  The standard sugar-reduced cookies scored 3.71, while the full-sugar cookies scored 4.57, suggesting that they were considered too sweet.  The cookies with concentrated fruit pieces came closest to optimum sweetness with a score of 4.25. Furthermore, they outscored the other two recipes on overall taste.

The tasters were first asked to evaluate how sweet they thought each recipe was.  The results revealed no significant difference between the full sugar reference cookies and the sugar-reduced cookies with pieces of dried fruit.  However, the sweetness of the standard sugar-reduced cookies was perceived to be significantly lower. Including pieces of dried, concentrated fruit in sugar-reduced recipes creates “sweet spots” which increase the overall perception of sweetness.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Els Vandenberghe, Product Development Technologist at Taura Natural Ingredients said in a press release: “The big challenge for manufacturers of sweet bakery products is to develop recipes that offer lower free sugar intake without compromising on taste….not only were the cookies with our pieces perceived as just as sweet as the full-sugar version, they were also liked more.”

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