Aroma-taste interactions, which are believed to occur due to previous coexposure (concurrent presence of aroma and taste), have been suggested as a strategy to aid sugar reduction in food and beverages. However, coexposures might be influenced by individual differences. We therefore hypothesized that aroma-taste interactions vary across individuals. The present study investigated how individual differences (gender, age, and sweet liker status) influenced the effect of aroma on sweetness intensity among young adults. An initial screening of five aromas, all congruent with sweet taste, for their sweetness enhancing effect was carried out using descriptive analysis. Among the aromas tested, vanilla was found most promising for its sweet enhancing effects and was therefore tested across three sucrose concentrations by 129 young adults. Among the subjects tested, females were found to be more susceptible to the sweetness enhancing effect of vanilla aroma than males. For males, the addition of vanilla aroma increased the sweet taste ratings significantly for the 22–25-year-olds, but not the 19–21-year-olds. Consumers were clustered according to their sweet liker status based on their liking for the samples. Although sweet taste ratings were found to vary with the sweet liker status, aroma enhanced the sweetness ratings similarly across clusters. These results call for more targeted product development in order to aid sugar reduction.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited