The technology can produce confectionery with a completely new mouthfeel: which begins as a piece of chewy candy then turns into chewing gum after a short time.
Fruit juice, coffee, milk, caramel
It says the secret behind the innovation is the production process because the products are boiled compared to ‘conventional chewing gum’, which is made in a dry kneading process.
It claims Candy2gum opens up opportunities for flavors and ingredients that, until now, were unheard of for chewing gum including fruit juice, coffee, milk, caramel, chocolate, coconut and plant extracts.
It uses water-based and fat-containing ingredients which it says the traditional kneading process cannot handle.
Dr. Martin Seizl, business development manager, Gum Specialties, Wacker Biosolutions, told ConfectioneryNews, the company has a long history as a raw material supplier for the chewing gum industry.
“One of the questions we asked ourselves was: Is it possible to print chewing gum? The answer is: yes, it’s possible, if you know how,” he said.
“As a technology-driven company, we have been looking into the possibilities of 3D-printing of food and non-food materials for several years.
“Generally speaking, chewing gum is a very complex food matrix with unique physical properties. This makes fused deposition modeling very challenging. Furthermore, the printed product should be tasty and keep its shape over time.
“We had to cope with several issues, but our experts tackled them by rethinking chewing gum formulations from scratch and optimizing commercially available 3D-printing hardware and software.”
Capiva C03 premix
Wacker’s experts have developed a premix – a novel product formulation for the printable gum called Capiva C03.
The premix is added to the candy mass and in turn becomes a Candy2gum product.
Capiva C03 is insoluble in water, but it melts fully, which means it can be blended homogeneously. The premix can be used in both sugary and sugar-free candy mixtures.
Seizl refused to comment on whether the company has partnered with any firms to bring Candy2gum to market. He said the project is still in a development phase so it was too early to discuss.
“We consider 3D-printed chewing gum a speciality product for the foreseeable future. We do not consider it better – just uniquely different,” he added.
“With the new process, it is possible to form chewing gum in a variety of different customizable shapes, not just as sticks, balls and pellets. Whatever is needed, whether a name, logo or lifelike miniature figure, this technology can produce gum in a range of colors, shapes and flavors – individually personalized.”
Seizl said 3D-printing is a fascinating technology because it opens up new possibilities for manufacturers, designers and consumers.
“Food printing is a relatively new field with more and more exciting solutions being developed. Generally, we see a trend towards individualized food products, may it be for commercial purposes such as marketing and advertising or just for personal use,” he added.
Talking about the increase in costs for producing 3D chewing gum, he said it will ‘depend on the willingness of consumers to pay more for individualized products’.
Wacker is now looking to expand the technology into other areas.