Finding Your Sweet Spot

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tips from chefs and sensory experts to satisfy customers while lowering the amount of sugar.


Separate small dishes of ketchup, chilli sauce and strawberry yoghurt

Reduce Sugar

  • Limit added sugar wherever possible.
  • In general, the sweeter something is, the more you can remove without having a negative taste impact.
  • A simple approach to reducing sugar (and calories) is to offer smaller portions. This can be a good strategy for recipes where reducing sugars is challenging.
  • Look for unsweetened ingredients. For example, choose fruit canned in juice or water instead of heavy syrup.
  • Offer sugar free syrups for consumers if they would like to sweeten beverages.
  • Add sugar to beverages only upon request, and offer a single packet of sweetener or sugar instead of an unlimited supply. By making unsweetened coffee and tea your standard, you can reduce sugars consumed in drinks.


Be Strategic About Flavours

  • Use flavours that are naturally associated with sweetness and enhance its perception. Try cinnamon, pineapple, strawberry, vanilla, lemon, almond, caramel, and lychee.1,2
  • Use contrasting flavours to play up the sweetness. Bitterness and sourness decrease sweetness, while low levels of saltiness or umami play it up. Just be careful not to go overboard on saltiness, which can take the focus away from sweetness (think salted caramel).


Focus On Your Other Senses

  • Intensify the colour of red foods and drinks to increase the perception of sweetness. In studies, dark red solutions  were rated sweeter than light red  solutions even when they contained less sugar.3
  • Play with the texture of foods to take the focus away from flavour. Chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or hot or cool sauces can create an exciting sensory experience without extra sugar.
  • Serve foods and beverages warm instead of cold to increase perceived sweetness since temperatures can affect taste perceptions.4



Tell Me More

Berries, mint leaf and sauce next to a sorbert

Many consumers are looking to limit sugars in their diet and appreciate transparency. Why not help them out?

You can help by displaying front of pack nutrition information on menus, cups, wrappers, or other containers. In line with EU guidelines, nutrition information displayed must either state the energy value (kJ and kcal) alone or energy value (kJ and kcal) plus amounts (in grams) of fat, saturates, sugars and salt.

Those who are looking for the information will appreciate your support. It may help guide them to the menu choices that are right for them, or reassure them that their old favourites fall within their needs.

Contact us if you’d like more information on the work we’ve done to reduce sugar and calories in our products. 



  1. Prescott, 1999
  2. Spillane, 2006
  3. Johnson and Clydesdale, 1982 
  4. Green, Heat as a Factor, 1993