Keeping it Sweet & Creamy: Better Tasting Low Sugar & Low Calorie Creamers

People love their coffee.

Every day there are over 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed across the globe. In America, 87% consider themselves somewhat or “full-on coffee-obsessed”, with roughly 3 in 4 drinking coffee daily (73%) and 93% having at least one cup a week.

While many make it a part of their morning ritual for that much-needed caffeine boost, the number one driver for coffee lovers is that they simply love the taste (83%).

Yet, for a vast majority, this doesn’t mean drinking it black. On average, Americans add three packets of sugar or sweetener to their coffee, and an overwhelming majority (77%) of people choose to add milk or creamer (dairy and plant-based) to their coffee.

In 2022, the global coffee creamer market size was estimated at USD 4.46 billion, and with it expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% until 2030, it appears Americans aren’t the only ones who enjoy a sweet and creamy cup of coffee.

coffee-creamer

Still, with the increased attention being paid to health and wellness, a growing number of consumers are thinking twice about what they are putting into their morning brew.

Wanting to provide a healthier but equally enjoyable coffee-drinking experience, developers are eager to offer better-for-you (BFY) creamer options with less sugar and lower calories.

However, creating satisfying BFY stir-ins isn’t without its challenges.

Low-Sugar Creamers

Typically, when a developer looks to reduce the amount of sugar (sucrose) in a coffee creamer, they’d still like to maintain a similar level of sweetness. To achieve this, they usually opt for an alternative sweetener like stevia or monkfruit.

Though this may reduce the amount of actual sugar in a product, using these alternatives comes with some drawbacks.

coffee-and-creamers

The most common are unwanted off-notes and/or a loss of mouthfeel.

Alternative sweeteners may maintain your desired sweetness level, but they can often create a lingering sweetness you wouldn’t get from sucrose. Additionally, these sweeteners might produce metallic off-notes that can distract or take away from the enjoyment of one’s morning cup of coffee.

Switching from regular sugar can also negatively impact another crucial part of the creamer experience: mouthfeel.

With ingredients such as stevia and monkfruit generating a more intense perception of sweetness, you naturally need to use less of them.

As a result, you end up lowering the Brix level (°Bx), a measurement of the dissolved solids in a liquid commonly used to measure sugar content. 

In other words, a higher concentration of sugar can give you that fuller mouth coating and mouthfeel you expect. In contrast, a product with lower sugar or that goes with sweeteners will have fewer solids making it seem thinner or even watery in comparison.

This is why application scientists always stress to formulators that you can’t just take something without putting something back in. The formula must always add up to 100%

Reducing calories through fat reduction often introduces similar issues.

Low-Calorie Creamers

The quickest way to create a lower-calorie creamer option is through fat reduction. More specifically, when we are talking about creamers, that usually means removing the actual cream.

milk-poured-in-coffee

For dairy creamers, this is done by replacing a portion of or all of the cream with another dairy product containing less milkfat, like whole, 2%, or skim milk.

Plant-based creamers can achieve a similar result by adjusting the amount of fats used in their formulation.

Either way, while this may result in a calorie-conscious creamer, the indulgent, smooth, and creamy mouthfeel consumers crave could be lost.

In both fat and sugar reduction, the challenge for developers becomes taking away “the bad” without losing any of the good.

Flavor can help you unlock this.

Flavor is the Key

It’s probably no surprise that the flavored creamers segment held the largest revenue share of 63.6% in 2022.

But while adding decadent profiles can help excite customers, our flavors can do that and so much more.

Edlong is uniquely suited because we understand the challenges; we have many flavors in the line that can work with and address the issues facing BFY creamers.

For example, certain sweet flavors, like those in our new Sweet Success™ line, profile can use their sweet aromatics to give people the perception of sweetness even if there isn’t sugar in that specific flavor. Some of our flavors can also increase the perception of sweetness and odor intensity both in your nose and mouth.

Using this technique helps you reduce your sugar and your need for alternatives.

coffee-and-creamer

When off-notes from sweeteners become an issue, our suite of masking solutions and characterizing profiles are there to help bring back the balance you’re looking for in your low-sugar creamer options.

Regarding mouthfeel, our scientists’ exclusive focus on dairy and dairy-type flavors helps them intricately understand all of the nuances that go into not only mouthfeel but texture as a whole.

We have a number of flavors that can build back the creamy and fatty mouthfeel characteristic of coffee creamer.

Moreover, with the rising popularity of cold brew and ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee beverages, it’s essential to choose a solution that can hold up to the heat or the cold.

That’s why we validate all our flavors in sensory analysis to ensure they will perform in your specific application.

Whether dairy or plant-based, let Edlong help you create a delicious, better-for-you coffee creamer consumers will actually want to get out of bed for.

About the Author: Julie Drainville, Sensory Manager

Julie Drainville leads all sensory functions for Edlong globally, maintaining a trained employee panel for sensory testing, and also collaborating with applications scientists and customers to run testing to meet project needs. Julie has an extensive background in food science including over 15 years in the sensory field, a degree from Purdue University in Foods, Nutrition and Business/Dietetics, a Master of Science in Nutrition Education from Rosalind Franklin University, and completion of the UC Davis Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program.


Topics: Better For YouBeverages
Resource Type: Article
Resource Region: EULATAMUS

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