Many of us struggle with a sweet tooth – but does that mean sweeter foods are always tastier? Researchers say no.
They analyzed 560,000 reviews of 31,000 food products sold on Amazon and online wellness retailer iHerb. Reviewers gave lower scores to products deemed “too sweet”.
The artificial sweetener Sucralose, commonly used in baked goods, chewing gum, beverages, and frozen dairy desserts, was among the ingredients that was most criticized for being too sweet.
“Food companies that make candies, snacks, and soft drinks must also pay attention to the demand for products that are less sweet,” said Kim Asseo, who conducted the study with other researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
“This is important not just for public health reasons (supplying members of the public who prefer it with food that is less sweet and is healthier), but also for the food companies themselves, so that they can boast a healthier product line and sell these healthier products to customers who actually find them tastier.”
Professor Masha Niv, who supervised the study, said: “This is important because customers who complained about products being oversweet gave them significantly lower scores (one star less) than did customers who did not complain about over-sweetness.
“In addition, the reviews mentioning over-sweetness came from different customers and only for some of the products those customers tried, rather than from ‘serial complainers’.”
“Despite popular opinion, it is not the case for everyone that sweeter means tastier. There is an opportunity here to diversify the levels of sweetness in products and to create healthier versions that are more closely tailored to the preferences of certain customer groups.”
The findings were published in the academic journal Foods.