Pungency Expression Across Applications

When developing spicy food products, understanding how the heat intensity will be perceived by consumers is a complex challenge.

Kalsec scientists conducted sensory analysis to understand heat delivery across several different applications and with different fat levels within those applications. Sensory testing was conducted in bratwurst, crackers, limeade and cream cheese applications, all at both high and low levels of fat. Each application was chosen because they are typically eaten differently, with different textures involved. This helped our scientists conclude that the food matrix matters. The application that you are adding heat to, and the level of fat that is present both affect the heat expression.

When it comes to fat content, our scientists found that reducing fat in an application may lead to higher expressions of pungency, meaning the product would be perceived as hotter than a comparable higher fat food product. This was the case across all applications. The inverse is true as well. The more fat, the higher the dose of capsicum that is needed to be added to reach the same heat level perception as a lower fat product.

Case Study 1: Comparison of Limeade and Cream Cheese

Kalsec scientists dosed a beverage application, limeade, with ClearCap® Capsicum at the same rate as cream cheese. The limeade expressed pungency faster than the higher fat cream cheese and lasted longer. This test demonstrated that pungency is influenced by the food base. Fat decreases the perception of the pungency, and water accentuates the perception.

Case Study 2: Fat Concentration in Bratwurst

Kalsec professional sensory panelists conducted pungency time intensity testing, mouth mapping and descriptive analysis of low fat (15% fat) and high fat (40% fat) sausage dosed with the same Kalsec product, 0.06% Aquaresin® Capsicum. The sensory testing was randomized for accuracy, and each treatment was replicated twice. Pungency intensity was mapped slightly higher for the lower fat bratwurst, and no significant differences were detected in the sausages.

Pungency Time and Intensity Studies

Graph of the intensity of pungency between low fat and high fat sausageGraph of the intensity of pungency between low fat and high fat crackers

As shown in both graphs, the lower fat applications saw a higher pungency intensity.

Case Study 3: Sensory Evaluation of Crackers

Sensory panelists were provided with a pungency reference to standardize their preferences, then given a randomized sampling order of high and low fat crackers dosed with equal parts ClearCap® Capsicum. The maximum pungency intensity of the low fat crackers was significantly greater than the high fat crackers, which aligns with past studies. It was also noted that the onset of pungency in the low fat crackers may be faster than the onset of the pungency in the high fat crackers.

Hot and Spicy Trends

Savory dairy is a current trend that includes products like hot and spicy ice cream and yogurt. Both of these applications have different ranges of fat content, so the pungency intensity is integral to the heat delivery. Another trend is for plant proteins, which in most cases need added fat to give the meat mouth-feel. If a manufacturer is planning to add heat in any of these applications, then the fat would change the perception of heat and need to be analyzed correctly.

Learn more about hot and spicy trends here.

Kalsec Range of Offerings

It was found through time-pungency intensity descriptive analysis and validated with our sensory panel that Kalsec aquaresins and oleoresins offer different pungency expressions, intensities and duration depending on the delivery systems. This provides a range of offerings for many different applications and pungency preferences. As a leader in heat management, we are here to answer your questions. Click here to learn more about our products and capabilities.

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