Processing manufacturer Baker Perkins has developed a new depositing system specifically for sweet-makers targeting the healthier end of the market.
The company has designed the SFX Depositing System for sugar-free hard candies, functional and medicated confectionery and sugar-free sweets incorporating the sweetener xylitol.
Xylitol is frequently used by confectionery manufacturers as an alternative to sugar. The sweetener has a third of the calories of sugar, fights cavity-causing bacteria and can pass through the human gut without involving insulin.
It has a low GI rating and contains 40 per cent less calories than other carbohydrates making it particularly suitable for consumers concerned with weight management.
Baker Perkins said: "Adding a xylitol component creates a more sophisticated product appealing to adult consumers and commanding a higher price. It goes a stage beyond sugar-free candy by adding a positive health benefit."
Sweets incorporating xylitol are made from a mixture of crystallised xylitol and a sugar-free syrup derived from either isomalt or maltitol. The ingredients are commonly layered or placed side by side.
Baker Perkins' SFX depositor includes a turbofilm plate pack model for hard sweets and a crystallisation process for xylitol. A twin-headed version of the depositor can be used to produce layers of the sweetener and sugar-free syrup.
According to the company, the depositor can also be used to target consumers seeking sugar-free options with natural flavours and colours as well as producing confectionery in the functional niche of the market.
"Marketeers will welcome the possibility of positioning a product that tastes great and does you good. There is also virtually limitless scope for colour and flavour combinations to maximise the natural sensation," said Baker Perkins in a statement.
Vitamins or breath fresheners can be added to the candy and the process can even be used to make medicated sweets such as decongestants or throat soothers.