Dark chocolate lovers show tolerance for bitterness in ice cream
Penn State Ag Sciences News | 07.26.13
Consumers who preferred dark chocolate in solid form tolerated twice as much of the bitterness from ingredients in chocolate ice cream than those who preferred milk chocolate.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In light of the obesity epidemic in our country and around the globe, consumers and health professionals alike are concerned about the high levels of added sugars and fats in foods.
Now, a study by Penn State shows that some consumers may not need all that added sugar and fat after all when it comes to enjoying one of America's favorite comfort foods: chocolate ice cream.
Author John Hayes, assistant professor of food science and director of the Sensory Evaluation Center, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, explains that oftentimes, high levels of sugar and fat are added to balance the bitterness of cocoa in chocolate ice cream. Yet, he said, bitterness is an integral part of the complex flavor of chocolate.
But, a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science shows that consumers who preferred dark chocolate in solid form tolerated twice as much of the bitterness from ingredients in chocolate ice cream than those who preferred milk chocolate. These findings suggest that elimination of some added sugar and fats in chocolate ice cream may, in fact, be preferable to some consumers. Hayes said:
"These results suggest that this approach could be used to make chocolate ice cream with less added sugar to be marketed for dark chocolate lovers, though this needs to be formally tested.”
"Our primary goal was to determine whether rejection thresholds for added bitterness in chocolate ice cream could be predicted by individual preferences for solid milk chocolate or dark chocolate," Hayes said.
The elimination of some added sugar and fats in chocolate ice cream may be preferable to some consumers.
"Estimating rejection thresholds could be an effective, rapid tool to determine acceptable formulations or quality limits when considering attributes that become objectionable at high intensities."
Other Penn State researchers on the study included lead author Meriel Harwood, who recently received her master's degree in food science, Joseph Loquasto, doctoral candidate in food science, Robert Roberts, professor and head of food science, and Gregory Ziegler, professor of food science.
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