Custom-made texture and flavour result in bitter masking swallowing gel

​A good tasting gel in two flavours ( coffee and anise ) that masks/reduces the bitter taste of medicine, so it makes the intake much easier. That is the result of this project of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.

Pharmaceutically active ingredients often have a bitter taste. When pills are swallowed as such, this bitter taste is not or barely perceived. However, when patients – often elderly people or children - have difficulties to swallow pills.

Good tasting gel

It can be a solution for some types of oral medication to grind or crush tablets into powder. This powder is then often mixed with food, such as apple sauce or yoghurt. Unfortunately, the bitter taste can then be strongly perceived and can be very aversive. Furthermore, unwanted interaction between the food and the medical compounds is possible. Therefore, intake with a good tasting gel, that eases swallowing of whole pills and powders, that does not interact with the medical compounds, and that masks/reduces bitter taste is desirable.

Product development

The product development at WFBR consisted of several stages: literature research, development of different textures by variations and combinations of thickeners, development of many taste varieties by variation of ingredients, selection of most promising texture and taste combinations, sensory tests with 26 elderly people familiar to intake of medication. The consumer test results were statistically evaluated and the two concepts « anise » and « coffee » in a transparent gel were selected for final optimization.


  • A gel that eases the swallowing of tablets and powders, with a quick passage of medication through the throat
  • Suitable for diabetics and patients with common food allergies
  • Transparent and stable gel with long shelf life
  • Masks bitter taste of medication
  • Taste and texture selected by consumer panel of elderly people
  • Two flavourings: anise and coffee
  • IMS Medical successfully introduced their bitterness masking swallowing gel called “Severo Swallowing gel” on the market in June 2018