Monday, August 24, 2009


The type of sweetener used in a food is becoming increasingly a matter of concern to many consumers because of conflicting reports regarding the bad effect of some of them on human health. White sugar or sucrose has already become a villain of demonic proportions and it is implicated in practically every disease man can think of! Added to this fructose sugar has been linked to obesity and liver disorders, though the conclusion is still tentative. Wide spread prevalence of Type 2 diabetes amongst the populations world over, calls for an entirely different kind of sweeteners that does not load on the pancreas. Weight watchers also look for zero calorie foods to reduce calorie intake as much as possible. In such an environment consumers are a worried lot regarding their ability to choose really sugar free products from the isles of the super markets.

Innovation in the form of a simple device containing appropriate sensors, to detect the type of sweetener used in foods being talked about, will be a boon to such sugar sensitive consumers. "Similar to middle-school litmus paper tests, the sensor uses color-coded dots to show what sweeteners are used in a product. Until now, a similar test took about 30 minutes, and now is accomplished in two minutes. The sensor is being presented as a quality-control device for manufacturers to tell how sweet a product is, but they also mention developing sensors for the other basic tastes, such as sour and bitterness".

If the small hand held device as being developed is found to be really reliable, one can hope for other such devices for taste notes like sourness, bitterness, saltiness etc. Food industry probably will have to be weary about this development as consumers are going to be much smarter than expected and more discerning in their selection. It may be good for the consumer as well as the industry in the long run!

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