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Cost saving gum arabic replacer strong on texture, says TIC Gums

By Jane Byrne , 28-Jan-2010
Last updated the 29-Jan-2010 at 16:30 GMT

A modification to a fast drying shell coating system for sugar and sugar alcohol syrups used in confectionery coating and hard panning boosts the sensory appeal of the final product, saves on processing costs and time and can replace gum arabic, says TIC Gums.

The company said that its new TicaPan Quick Crunch coating system for coated confectionery and chewing gum contains ingredients that enables it to mimic gum arabic binding properties but also results in a crunchier and harder shell in confectionery of the sugar and non-sugar variety.

Stacey VanDenHeuvel, marketing specialist at TIC Gums, told ConfectioneryNews.com that the new coating system was generated by customer demand for a sealing system that would provide improved taste and texture performance.

And she explained that, unlike gum arabic, Quick Crunch does not foam during pan coating of chewing gum or chocolate. Trials with lead customers demonstrated that it dried up to 20 per cent faster than gum arabic between charge applications, thus reducing production time and also accruing significant cost savings for confectionery makers, said VanDenHeuvel.

A further advantage to chewing gum makers arising from the use of Quick Crunch is the fact that it is already white in colour and so would not require the addition of titanium dioxide, which is often used by chewing gum makers reliant on gum arabic for formulation to provide a white colour for their product, she continued.

VanDenHeuvel said that the coating system will not be commercially available until the end of 2010, as trials to determine shelf life are ongoing until then. She said that the company is targeting the global market with the coating system, and will also provide a non-GMO, and all-natural version.

According to VanDenHeuvel, the coating system was originally prompted by continued high demand and uncertain supply of gum arabic.

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 per cent of that coming from Sudan.

Tic Gums said that 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.

Due to this uncertain supply, several companies have developed gum arabic replacers for other applications, but TIC Gums saw 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.

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