Gum titan Wrigley has filed a patent for a gum formulation containing soluble fiber that it claims improves flavor and texture while increasing the healthiness of the product.
The composition, which uses a combination of water-soluble and water insoluble materials, is said to allow a healthy amount of fiber in the product without comprising consumer acceptability.
Fiber as bulking agent
Although water soluble fibers (or polysaccharides of varying size) have been used in gum as alternative bulking agents to sucrose or sweeteners before, Wrigley said that they created a slimy feel in the mouth and had a chalky, gritty texture.
“There is a need for an acceptable water-soluble bulking agent for use in chewing gum that will deliver the properties of sucrose in chewing gum, but be less carriogenic and deliver commercially acceptable mouthfeel, flavor and sweetness,” said Wrigley in its patent application.
The Mars-owned firm said that had invented an alternative bulking agent using combination of saccharide, cellusose and fiber to overcome the undesirable taste and texture.
For the precise specifications of the composition, please refer to the patent application HERE.
Laxative effect of polyols
The composition could be used as a sugar-free alternative to sweeteners such as sorbitol, maltitol and other polyols.
“A disadvantage of most polyols is causation of gastrointestinal disturbances (such as ‘laxation’) upon consumption,” said Wrigley, adding that it depended on the specific polyol and the amount of gum chewed.
In the EU, legislation requires gums and other products containing over 10% polyols to state on pack: 'Excessive consumption may produce a laxative effect'.
Wrigley indicated that its new gum composition could prove another healthy alternative to sugar formulations and avoid a laxative effect, while adding nutritive value through fiber content.
It said that proteins such as gluten had previously been used to add nutritional value in chewing gum but gave a poor chew as elasticity and cohesiveness was lost.
Wrigley hinted that its gum composition containing fiber could help consumers meet the American Dietetic Association’s recommendation of 20-35 daily grams of fiber for adults.
It also inferred there may be future scope for a health claim as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already granted claims on fiber-containing food products giving physiological benefits.
The patent was filed under The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), an international patent law treaty that allows a uniform patent to be considered by signatory national or regional authorities.
National and regional authorities that are signatories to the PCT will now decide whether or not to grant the patent.