The Science of Sweetness

SoPureTM Stevia Applications & Formula Development

SoPureTM offers the most complete portfolio of stevia extracts commercially available, but learning how to best use each of the different extracts is a study in the science of sweetness. From the more widely used Reb A to the less abundant, but slightly sweeter and better tasting Reb M, each of the glycosides found in stevia feature unique sweetness profiles and varying chemical traits, all which should be considered and compared when selecting the right SoPure stevia product for your sweetening needs. Through extensive research & development, our SoPure scientists have compiled our findings into a handy guide for evaluating the various classes of Rebaudioside.

Comparison Table of Steviol Glycosides

Steviol Glycoside Name

Melting Point, °C

Mol. Weight

% Solubility in Water

% in Leaf

Relative Sweetness

Sensory Attributes

Rebaudioside A

242-244

966

0.50

13-16%

200-400

Sweet with aftertaste/off-notes at high use levels

Rebaudioside B

193-195

804

0.01

< 1%

150-350

Similar to Reb A but with less off-notes/aftertaste

Rebaudioside C

215-217

958

0.20

< 1%

30-60

Sweetness enhancer for bulk sweeteners

Rebaudioside D

283-286

1128

0.05

< 1%

200-400

Similar to Reb A but with a clean taste profile even at high use levels

Rebaudioside M

216-218

1291

0.20

< 1%

230-450

Slightly sweeter than Reb A with a clean and sweet taste profile even at high use levels

SoPureTM Stevia extracts can be used across a broad range of product applications in foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, animal feed and other systems where a high potency, zero calorie, natural sweetener is the preferred option to caloric natural or artificial high potency sweeteners. Our extracts perform well in sugar reduced formulations and lightly sweetened systems. As with most high potency sweeteners, the sweetness profile of stevia is slightly delayed compared to sucrose but lingers longer as well.

SoPureTM Stevia has been successfully incorporated in products including:

  • Beverages: Carbonated Soft Drinks, Energy Drinks, Iced Tea, Iced Coffee, Sport Drinks, Powder Soft Drinks
  • Baked Goods: Breads, Cakes, Cookies, Brownies, Pies, Cereal Bars
  • Condiments & Sauces: Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Pickles, Steak Sauces
  • Confections: Hard and Soft Candies, Chewing Gums, Chocolates, Chocolate Powders
  • Dairy Products: Yogurts, Ice Creams, Frozen Novelties
  • Tabletop Sweeteners: Tablets, Liquids, Powders
  • Personal Care: Cosmetics, Lipsticks, Mouth Washes, Toothpaste, Cough Syrup, Dietary Supplements, Protein Drinks, Replacement Meal Drinks, Vitamin Bars
With such a wide variety of possible product applications, the appropriate use level of stevia will vary depending upon the product as well. 

Below are recommended ranges of how much SoPureTM stevia should be applied for different product types.

Product
Recommended SoPure Use Level (mg/kg or mg/L)

Carbonated soft drinks

100–600

Still beverages

50–600

Powdered soft drinks (as is)

200–2000

Tabletop (as is)

800–4000

Bakery products

200–1000

Dairy products

150–1000

Chewing gum

300–6000

Confections

100–1000

Cereals

200–1000

Edible gels

200–1000

Nutraceuticals

200–1000

Pharmaceuticals

50–1000

SoPureTM provides a vast array of stevia to fit your formula and product needs. However, selecting the right usage level and the best class of stevia extracts is dependent upon the intended food and beverage product application. Even in the same application, using vastly different flavors or formulas may require tweaks to the stevia usage or formula. Developing your SoPureTM formula starts with a few important steps.

Determine the Sucrose Equivalence

Calculate the total sweetener contribution in the application in terms of sucrose equivalence. For example, if the application uses 14.9 g of dextrose in a 100g drink and it is assumed that dextrose is about 74% as sweet as sugar, the drink would have about 11% sucrose equivalent. For projects that plan to use stevia to sweeten up to 6 sucrose equivalents, start with Reb A 80 at 230ppm or 0.023% of the total beverage. If a higher purity Reb is desired, Reb A 97 can be used but will cost a little more and the use level could be up to 190ppm. If more sweetness is needed, then adjust up slightly but keep an eye on off notes and aftertaste.

Apply a Stacking Strategy

If off notes or aftertaste are present, then use a “stacking” technology to put other stevia or sweeteners on top. Use a level of Reb A that doesn’t have off notes. For FEMA approved countries, try adding the Plus or Plus-100 at up to 175ppm to the beverage. Please see the SoPure natural flavors page for more details and other application limits. Add other SoPure leaf extracts to get to the desired sweetness. Additional options are to add sugar, HFCS, fructose, erythritol or other sweeteners that have a more upfront sweetness profile to balance out the slightly delayed stevia profile that is common with many other high intensity sweeteners.

Source: Mitsubishi-Chemical Foods Corporation

Taste Modulators

If aftertaste is the only concern, try adding 100-200 ppm of salt, which reduces the lingering and enhances the flavor. Adjust up as desired or consider adding sodium citrate. Other osmolytes like malic or lactic acid may also reduce the stevia sweetness lingering. Keep an eye on the overall sweetness impact too when adding modulators. Many flavor companies as well as other food companies have ingredients that may modulate the sweetness, bitterness or other off-notes that may come with certain grades of stevia.

Try One of Our Popular Formulas

As an alternative to developing your own formula, you may want to consider one of our popular SoPure formulas. For a variety of common applications, we’ve already performed the formulation work and found specialties that have tested and proven to taste great, especially in higher sugar reduction applications.

Fine-Tune Your Formula

After finding the right stevia, the formula may still need some tweaking such as mouthfeel, bulking or acidity. There are a number of hydrocolloids available to make up for the lost solids when performing sugar reduction. If bulking is needed to maintain net weight or for baking, consider using maltodextrin or fiber.

While stevia is used primarily as a sweetener and typically labeled as “stevia leaf extract,” it can also be labeled as a “natural flavor” in FEMA following countries at lower use levels. For more information on SoPure for natural flavor applications, please visit our page with regulatory guidance on such labeling.

Our Research, Development and Application group in the Americas and Asia are on hand to provide more customized food and beverage formulation guidance for select customers. Starting formulas for beverages, including carbonated soft drinks and iced teas, and foods, such as yogurt and cookies, are available from the SoPureTM formulation library.

Contact us at Nascent Health Sciences to inquire about SoPureTM application support.