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Confectionery coating system provides alternative to gum arabic

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 19-Feb-2009

TIC Gums has developed a fast-drying shell coating system for chewing gum, confectionery and nuts, which it said was prompted by continued high demand and uncertain supply of gum arabic.

The company said that its TicaPan coating system works in much the same way as gum arabic for sealing commonly hard-panned confectionery, polishing chocolate coated nuts, and to strengthen shell coatings that contain sugar or sugar alcohols.

But senior principal scientist Dr Mar Nieto said that the benefits of TicaPan go beyond providing a cost-effective gum arabic replacement.

“The TicaPan coating system has shown equal to or better drying time than gum arabic controls, with a comparable texture profile when used in pan coating of chewing gum,” he said.

Gum arabic supply concerns

The supply of gum arabic, also known as acacia gum as it comes from acacia trees in the gum belt of Africa, is variable due to climatic factors and ongoing political unrest in the countries where it is sourced, such as Sudan and Nigeria. This has led to spikes in the price of the ingredient.

Approximately 45,000 tonnes of gum arabic is brought to the market for food use each year, with more than 80 percent of that coming from Sudan.

Nieto said: “The risk of not having a supply of enough gum arabic is becoming a real concern for the chewing gum and confection industry, a field of application in which gum arabic replacement has not been available.”

Replacements

Due to this uncertain supply, several companies have developed gum arabic replacers for other applications, including National Starch, which released its Q-Naturale emulsifier for gum arabic replacement in beverages in June last year.

However, Nieto said that TIC Gums had seen confectionery as an area of the market where there were no adequate replacements for gum arabic.

Although some manufacturers choose to use maltodextrin as an inexpensive alternative to gum arabic in sugar binding applications, it is problematic in large batch sizes and coating pans due to its relatively weak crystals.

TIC Gums claims that TicaPan, on the other hand, matches the crystallization of gum arabic.

The company said that its new coating system meets required standards for sugar-free and non-cariogenic labels and that a non-GMO version is also available.

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