Although beet and cane sugar sources have nearly identical chemical compositions, the sugars differ in their volatile profiles, thermal behaviors, and minor chemical components. Scientific evidence characterizing the impact of these differences on product quality is lacking. The objective of this research was to determine whether panelists could identify a sensory difference between product matrices made with beet and cane sugar sources. Sixty-two panelists used the R-index by ranking method to discern whether there was a difference between 2 brands of beet and 2 brands of cane sugars in regard to their aroma and flavor, along with a difference in pavlova, simple syrup, sugar cookies, pudding, whipped cream, and iced tea made with beet and cane sugars. R-index values and Friedman's rank sum tests showed differences (P < 0.05) between beet and cane sugars in regard to their aroma and flavor. Significant differences between the sugar sources were also identified when incorporated into the pavlova and simple syrup. No difference was observed in the sugar cookies, pudding, whipped cream, and iced tea. Possible explanations for the lack of difference in these products include: (1) masking of beet and cane sensory differences by the flavor and complexity of the product matrix, (2) the relatively small quantity of sugar in these products, and (3) variation within these products being more influential than the sugar source. The findings from this research are relevant to sugar manufacturers and the food industry as a whole, because it identifies differences between beet and cane sugars and product matrices in which beet and cane sugars are not directly interchangeable.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science