Despite increasing awareness of soy products' health benefits - including soy beverages - their characteristic beany flavor keeps many consumers from using them.

Heat applied to soy beverages during soaking, cooking and pasteurization or sterilization produces chemical compounds. These are ultimately responsible for the beverages' off-flavor.

Canadian researchers have found that, while nutrition and health are important to the success of a food product, the most important criterion for acceptance is taste, followed by texture.

Researchers applied these criteria to 14 soy beverages currently available in North America. The objective was to establish a correlation between composition, taste and consumer acceptance of soy beverages.

Understanding these connections will aid in the future development of soy beverages that are more widely accepted, marketable and more competitive with other products on the market, they say.

(Joyce Irene Boye, Denis Belaner, Jacinthe Fortin, Nathalie Durand, Nathalie Rodrigue, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)