Wrigley's has applied to FSANZ to amend standard 1.3.2 Vitamins and Minerals of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code so that calcium can be used as an additive in its 'sugar free' gum range.
The confectioner has requested that a maximum claim level of 100 mg calcium be added constituting 12.5 per cent of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) and 10 ten per cent of RDI as per the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.
Granting the application will provide producers with opportunities to cash in on 'healthy chewing gums' with added calcium. Wrigley's predicts that calcium fortified gum would achieve 12 per cent market share in its first year and generate five per cent growth in the chewing gum market.
Due to a loophole, calcium-fortified gum was already permitted in New Zealand. But the new application would give permission for manufacturers to sell into other countries that permit fortification, and allow the sale of similar products to be imported into both Australia and New Zealand.
The primary sources of calcium intake are dairy foods with milk contributing 30 per cent and milk ten per cent of the average diet. However the most recent studies into calcium intake in Australia in 1995 and New Zealand in 1997 revealed inadequate calcium intakes in most age groups studied.
Wrigley's is the world's largest manufacturer of chewing gum with global sales of $US4bn (€3bn) and has its products marketed in 180 countries.
FSANZ is currently considering a number of changes to the Australian New Zealand Food Code, all of which are open for public and industry comment.
The initial assessment of the report can be found on FSANZ's website at FSANZ