CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Many consumers probably don't know the difference between phenylpropanoloamine (PPA) and pseudoephedrine, but kids will be able to taste the difference, according to a study released last week by consulting firm Arthur D. Little here.
several cold remedies after the Food & Drug Administration last year recommended that products containing PPA no longer be marketed. Pseudoephedrine, however, has a much more bitter flavor, according to Arthur D. Little, and that could affect the acceptance of the reformulated products by children.
"What we found overall is that there is a very large range in flavor quality, from very high to very low," said Jeff Worthington, vice president, food, health and nutrition, Arthur D. Little. "Some manufacturers have done a better job at taste-masking than others."
The company analyzed the flavor, aroma, texture and mouth-feel of 19 adult products and 46 pediatric products, and compared them with five key sensory attributes of the category's sales leaders.
The reformulated cold remedies that are both effective and have better flavor will be more likely to move off the shelves than those remedies that compared less favorably in their flavor attributes, according to Worthington.
"The hypothesis is that you will get better compliance and consumer acceptability with those products," he said.
The study ranked the individual pediatric products from No.1 through No. 46, but Worthington declined to reveal the results. He did say, however, that there were wide variations in flavor quality among different products under the same brand, leaving no true brand leader in flavor.
In general, pediatric products had more room to improve in their flavor quality than adult products, he said. That's due in part to the fact that adults will tolerate stronger and more distinctive flavors than children will, he explained.
Several manufacturers of cough-and-cold products, including Whitehall-Robins, Bayer and Novartis, could not be reached for comment.