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可口可乐连推新品,新添加剂或引争议

Beth Kowitt 2018年01月23日

新型添加剂“老K”也是一种高强度增甜剂,其甜味是普通白砂糖的200倍。

今年1月,新口味的健怡可乐一经上市就大受好评。不过细心的消费者们或许注意到,新品健怡可乐在成份一栏里多了一个新单词——乙酰氨基磺酸钾,俗称“老K”。

这种人工增甜剂将被添加到姜汁青柠、樱桃、芒果、红橙等多个口味的健怡可乐中。另外普通口味的健怡可乐也将重装上市,只不过它的包装罐被“瘦身”和“增高”了,而且它仍将仅使用阿斯巴甜作为唯一的人工增甜剂。

和阿斯巴甜一样,“老K”也是一种高强度增甜剂,其甜味是普通白砂糖的200倍,所以只需极少量的“老K”就能达到和蔗糖同样的甜度。这种增甜剂是上世纪60年代发明的,经常与阿斯巴甜搭配出现在碳酸饮料里。

美国食品药品监督管理局于1988年批准了“老K”的使用,并称有超过90份研究“支持其安全性”。不过有些批评人士认为,目前对于这种人工增甜剂的研究仍然不足。比如公共利益科学中心主席迈克尔·雅各布森此前曾对《财富》表示:“这是一个大家都不关注的隐患,我认为没有人能绝对地说它是安全或者危险的。”

可口可乐北美产品总监拉斐尔·阿塞韦多表示,可口可乐历来在健怡可乐中只使用阿斯巴甜作为人工增甜剂,它会给可乐带来一种特别的清爽感。

为了吸引“千禧一代”的消费者,可口可乐公司决定研发一些新口味,但研发团队发现,这些新品的口味普遍略酸。而加入“老K”则能遮盖住酸味。阿塞韦多对《财富》表示:“我们希望保持这种清爽感。”

可口可乐已经在零糖可乐中混合使用阿斯巴甜和“老K”了,这种可乐的口感比起健怡可乐也更像普通可乐。不过阿塞韦多也表示,“老K”和阿斯巴甜在这两个品牌中的混合比例有很大的差异。“产品的最终口味是很不一样的。”

随着消费者日益青睐所谓的“天然成份”,越来越多的人开始排斥人工增甜剂,可口可乐的销量自然受到影响,健怡可乐就是在此背景下重装上市的。同时很多销费者也想减少糖份的摄入量。研究机构NPD集团发现,减少摄糖已经成为很多消费者健康饮食的第一目标。

因此,很多企业都在寻找完美的天然替代品来代替糖。比如可口可乐公司就在与一家名叫Chromocell的公司展开合作。这家公司正在研究提高普通蔗糖的甜度,使饮料厂商即便减少糖的用量,也能达到相同的甜度。

阿塞韦多并不认为使用“老K”作为添加剂会令“千禧一代”望而却步。他表示:“他们对这个领域是很开放的,我们相信,这种混合增甜剂的口味会吸引他们的。”(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

When Coca-Cola’s new Diet Coke flavors hit store shelves in mid-January, serious soda aficionados may notice a new ingredient on the product’s label—acesulfame potassium, or Ace-K.

The artificial sweetener will be included in Coca-Cola’s new Diet Coke in ginger lime, feisty cherry, twisted mango, and zesty blood orange varieties. The company’s relaunched regular Diet Coke, which will now be sold in a taller and skinnier can, will continue to be made with aspartame as the sole sweetener.

Ace-K, like aspartame, is what’s known as a high-intensity sweetener: It’s 200 times sweeter than sugar, meaning a very small amount is needed to reach the same level of sweetness as sucrose. The sweetener was discovered in the 1960s and is often paired with aspartame, especially in diet sodas.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Ace-K in 1988 and says that more than 90 studies “support its safety.” Some critics, however, feel that not enough research has been conducted on the sweetener. “It’s a sleeper that no one pays attention to,” Michael Jacobson, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told Fortune earlier this year. “I don’t think either side can say definitively it’s safe or dangerous.”

Coca-Cola, however, has historically only used aspartame in Diet Coke, which gives the soda a very crisp taste, says Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for the product.

But when the company decided to try these new flavors to target millennial consumers, the R&D team found that the product tasted a little bit sourer. The addition of the Ace-K was able to mask that sour flavor. “We wanted to make sure we maintain that crispness,” Acevedo tells Fortune.

Coca-Cola already uses a blend of aspartame and Ace-K in Coke Zero Sugar, which is designed to taste more like regular Coke than Diet Coke. Acevedo, however, says that Ace-K and aspartame are blended together very differently in the two brands. “The final taste of the products are very different,” he says.

The relaunch of Diet Coke comes amid a period declining sales volumes as shoppers have increasingly eschewed artificial sweeteners—part of a bigger consumer trend away from processed fare to what they view as natural ingredients. Simultaneously, consumers are trying to cut back on their sugar intake. Research firm NPD Group has found that sugar is now the No. 1 substance they are trying to cut or eliminate from their diets.

As a result, companies have been on a quest to find the perfect natural sugar substitute. For example, Coca-Cola works with a company called Chromocell, which is working on enhancing the sweetness of sugar so formulators can use less of it to achieve the same taste.

Acevedo, however, doesn’t believe that the inclusion of Ace-K on the label will be off-putting to millennials. “They are open to the category,” he says. “We feel very comfortable this sweetener mix is going to connect with them.”

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