The company recently filed a patent under Kraft Foods, it’s name before a split last October, that details how print quality on chewing gum can be improved by brushing off anti-sticking agents that can ruin print details, using gravure printing and controlling thickness.
Consumers attracted by print quality
“Printing indicia designs on chewing gum have enjoyed great popularity, but many of the printing methods do not provide an adequate combination of desirable print qualities, including high print density, light tone speckle, consistency and high output,” said Kraft in its patent application.
“Studies show that the print quality of indicia appeals to consumers and the higher the quality of printing, the greater will be the appeal,” it continued.
Brushing off anti-sticking agents
Chewing gum is conventionally treated with anti-sticking agents, such as saccharides, before forming to prevent the product sticking to rollers.
Mondelez said that anti-sticking agents can create morphological irregularities on the surface of gum sheets which can cause any print indicia to be applied to the flaking powdered anti-sticking agent rather than the surface of the gum, giving a poor print quality.
It's invention therefore incorporates de-dusting brushes to ensure the anti-sticking agents don’t upset the printing process.
The company added that the system might also include air jets to remove residues.
The system uses gravure printing, which involves graving an image onto a gravure cylinder.
Mondelez said that gravure printing produced a sharper print quality than other contact methods, such as letterpress lithographic, because it can transfer more ink to the substrate.
However, in comparison to non-contact methods such as ink jet, gravure printing uses less ink, bringing a cost saving, said the firm.
The chewing gum sheets are made slightly thicker than the gap between the roller and the gum, which results in a higher print quality. The gum sheet is compressed during the process.
The gum composition can include any common ingredients used in gum production, said Mondelez.
For full details of the invention, see the patent application here.