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Product sample and tasting

Product Sampling and Assessing Taste

It’s no secret most Super Greens truly taste awful!

From the research so far I liked two Super Greens (Athletic Greens and Green Vibrance), so for me these were the gold standard to aspire too. My supplement should taste as good as, or better, than my two favorite tasting Super Greens brands.

Taste is highly subjective too, what you like drinking will be different from my favorite beverage and flavor. I mean, as a kid I regularly had honey on taste and would dip cheese on top – yummy!

The fact is taste really matters. So, how do you go about developing a greens supplement that tastes not just palatable but is enjoyable to drink?

This article looks into flavor options, sweetness, and the effect of ingredients can have on taste.

Pouring Super Greens

What Influences Taste of Super Greens Supplement?

The primary factor of taste for my Super Greens will be the ingredients and the amounts used. We know that many of the greens like Spirulina and Barley Grass are not tasty and will have a grassy flavor.

Originally I wanted ingredients like Reishi and Shitake mushrooms, but feedback from the manufacturer was they “taste pretty bad and are difficult to overcome”. Considering their recommendation of only putting in 150mg of these ingredients I didn’t think it was worth it, especially as you need a few grams to have an effect.

This was the same for Maca Root with the suggestion of reducing from 1000mg to 250mg.

So I made the decision to remove these two ingredients and instead of focusing on other ingredients that wouldn’t affect the taste as strongly.

How did I decide on the final ingredients for my Super Greens supplement? Check out my research on popular Super Green ingredients.

What I looked at next was choosing a natural flavor to the greens powder to improve the taste. These are typically powdered versions of the actual ingredient.

Flavor Options

I spoke directly to my manufacturer about the choices of flavors available and they suggested; chocolate(!), lemon, orange soda, mint, and berry.

My immediate thoughts were no to chocolate and orange soda but there was no harm in trying them. So I organized samples to be sent to me in Malaysia and to my sister-in-law who resides in the USA.

My sister-in-law never buys or uses supplements and is a huge advocate for juicing raw vegetables. She would be a good person to taste the initial samples as if she liked them I could be onto a real winner!

First Round of Tasting Super Greens Samples

Product samplesThe samples arrived at my sister-in-law’s first being in the USA and she gave the samples a try. Her immediate feedback was the taste being too sweet for her. This was not too surprising as she doesn’t take any supplements in capsule or powder form.

She also complained about a bad after taste that stayed in her mouth for a while. The mint and berry flavors were the best with Chocolate and Lemon being the worse tasting.

When my samples arrived I was keen to see if my experience was the same. In terms of favorites, I agreed in that Mint and Berry were the most pleasant tasting flavors.

I didn’t think the samples tasted as sweet as my sister-in-law thought, most likely because I do have a sweet tooth and enjoy sweet-tasting drinks (too much!). The after taste was certainly an issue though and was off-putting for me too.

Sweetness

Most of us aren’t keen and don’t want to consume products with artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, or processed sugars. It was really important for me that I avoid these in my supplement.

My manufacturer recommended using Stevia Leaf Extract to add a natural sweetener to the greens powder. I have seen this ingredient used a lot when I researched and did my review of the most popular products.

If you don’t want a Super Greens that tastes like grass then a little sweetness is good and makes it a lot more palatable. So added a natural sweetener like Stevia Leaf Extract is an option, but clearly there is too much in these samples.

What is Stevia Leaf Extract?

Stevia Leaf sugar substituteStevia is a herb, also called Stevia rebaudiana, that originates from South America. It’s long been considered a safe alternative to sugar, even though its 200-350 times sweeter than sugar!

This natural sweetening agent has been used in food and drinks and is said to provide a number of benefits.

As it contains no calories it’s a popular choice in calorie-reduced products to help weight management and control.

Examine states that Stevia:

In low doses, stevia consumption appears to be associated with general anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects; these effects have been linked to protection of the kidneys, pancreas, liver, and brain when they precede damaging stressors.

Using a small amount of Stevia Leaf Extract will help to sweeten the greens powder, the next round of testing we need to reduce the amount as currently, it’s a little too sweet.

How Do Super Greens Smell?

The smell of the powder is something not often mentioned when reading about Super Greens supplements. I found this surprising considering when I opened my Super Greens samples I could discern different smells.

Opening the chocolate sample and you could certainly smell the chocolate flavoring and the color of the powder was a browny green.

Most of the other samples weren’t as strong smelling as the chocolate one, and you often only became aware of the smell after mixing with water.

I found the mint and berry samples the nicest smelling samples.

Feedback to and From the Manufacturer

Mint and berriesBased on the feedback from my sister-in-law and my experience we relayed the feedback to the manufacturer and asked for some changes. I had narrowed down the flavor to either Mint or Berry as these were the nicest flavors from all the samples we tasted.

We discussed the issues raised after the first round of testing, and the manufacturer made a few recommendations. The main one being to reduce some of the ingredient amounts by halving . I wasn’t keen on this as I am passionate about having the proper ingredient amounts inside – I want my supplement to work as directed!

The other recommendation was to introduce another ingredient called “inulin” into the formula, which is a starchy fiber that’s not digested or absorbed in the stomach. Including Inulin could help to reduce after taste.

There are other benefits of taking Inulin too (see WebMD) but the dosage would possibly be too low to experience many of these.

The manufacturer made four more samples using the Berry and Mint flavors adding the Inulin for all samples, and for two samples to reduce the nootropic ingredients by 50%.

Second Round of Tasting Super Greens Samples

Product Samples 2After a few weeks we received the samples, again I had them sent to both my sister-in-law and to myself.

This batch was much better and the sweetness was less and the after taste was much less. I really enjoyed drinking the mint-flavored sample and really felt refreshing.

My sister-in-law still thought the samples were too sweet for her, considering her preference for no supplements makes sense.

There wasn’t much difference between the “full strength” samples and the reduced ones, which I was happy to know as I won’t be reducing the ingredient amounts.

I gave the samples I had to friends and family to get more feedback and the response was good. Certainly, the mint flavor came out on top as was the most popular choice.

So, Does It Have That Wow Taste?

After 4-6 weeks of backward and forwards with the manufacturer, there is a clear winner with the mint flavor being the preferred version. The ingredient profile has not been changed either apparently from the inclusion of Inulin and Stevia Leaf Extract.

Since signing off the final approved ingredient profile, I have given the Mint sample to other friends and I would say 80% of them enjoyed the taste. I am happy with that, and can’t realistically ask for more.

Taste is incredibly important, as reading any feedback from Super Green supplements online will tell you. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone, as everyone has a different taste palate, but I believe we’re onto a winner here with the formula and mint flavor.

The next stage is with the manufacturer who is formulating and producing the supplement now.

Adam Author

About the LifeHacker Guy

Hi, I'm Adam the founder of the LifeHacker Guy.

I have a First Class Honours degree in Sports Science from Brighton University, specialising in exercise physiology and nutrition. In my youth I was a competitive Triathlete and long-distance runner placing top 10 in most triathlon races I completed.

Since suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I moved into web development, after a couple of years I then moved onto developing a number of online businesses. I've recently taken a sabbatical and I'm now looking to make big changes in my life, hopefully this may resonate with you - join me in my journey!

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