Development and consumer acceptance testing of a honey-based beverage fermented by a multi-species starter culture

FOOD BIOSCIENCE(2023)

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Abstract
Despite being recognized as a risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCD), regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) is promoted by the commercial interests of big business corporations and is not properly regulated by governments. To meet the demand for a healthier alternative to SSB, this study aimed to develop a honey-based fermented beverage and to evaluate its consumer acceptance. The top-down selection of bacteria and yeasts, isolated from six commercial symbiotic cultures and characterized in a honey-based experimental solution, was followed by the bottom-up construction of a defined multi-species starter culture. Plant extracts and bottle conditioning were used in a pilot-scale production for the sensory analysis of consumer acceptance with a three-domain questionnaire. Of the thirty-three isolated microorganisms, eleven did not grow on the honey-based broth, whereas eight were excluded for their excessive acidification. Two bacteria and three yeasts were carefully chosen for the multi-species starter culture employed in the pilot-scale production, resulting in a carbonated beverage without residual carbohydrates, no detectable acetic acid, 1.0 +/- 0.1 g/L of lactic acid, 2.6 +/- 0.3 g/L of glycerol and 5.4 +/- 0.3 g/L of ethanol. Sensory beverage analysis by a hundred and twelve potential consumers revealed an eighty-six percent acceptance index. These results suggest that the developed beverage is well accepted, even having no sugar content and no chemical additives, being a promising alternative to hyper-caloric ultra-processed beverages.
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Key words
Consumer acceptance,Fermented beverage,Honey,Probiotics,Noncommunicable disease
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