Last week the European Food Safety Authority's Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), as part of its fourth batch of Article 13 health claims, found causality for the claim that sugar-free gum with fluoride increases the resistance of enamel to acid attacks and the rate of remineralisation.
The NDA also found that carbamide sugar-free gum can neutralise plaque acid when there is at least 20mg carbamide per piece and it is chewed for at least 20 minutes after eating or drinking.
Gum “most likely” category
Nigel Baldwin, chief European claims consultant at Cantox Health Sciences International, told ConfectioneryNews.com that he expects to see a raft of other gum innovation developments coming on stream stemming from these approvals.
But he notes that the gum industry has always been very focussed in terms of the addition of functional ingredients as it is “the main vehicle for health claims in confectionery.”
“Without the chewing gum category, the confectionery sector will struggle to find products that will ultimately be able to carry claims due to the restrictions of nutrient profiles."
EFSA's novel foods approval for Rev 7, the degradable non-stick gum base, earlier this month and the strong likelihood of Wrigley achieving EU novel foods backing for magnolia bark extract as a breath freshener could also serve to buoy up other gum R&D projects, remarked Baldwin.
Last year, the NDA panel also found that xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol-based sugar-free chewing gum could neutralise dental plaque and reduce tooth demineralisation and that both could reduce the risk of dental caries.
The positive opinion followed an earlier endorsement by EFSA in 2008 for a claim submitted by the Dutch and Finnish group Leaf Holland that xylitol-sweetened chewing gum was beneficial to dental health. Positive Article 13, generic, dental health claims also exist for sugar-free chewing gum consumed after meals.
Baldwin commented that the positive opinion in the current Article 13.1 batch for a claim around sugar free gum containing fluoride and tooth mineralisation was a foregone conclusion given the fact that the dossier was "a consolidation of gum health claims that had already experienced favourable outcomes."
Article 13.1 submissions in the fourth batch of health claims, commented the expert, had their chances greatly increased in that they could leverage the approach taken by the “proper dossiers” submitted under Article 13.5/14.
Meanwhile, Global Industry Analysts (GIA), in a January 2011 published report “Gums: A Global Strategic Business Report”, forecasts the global gums market to reach $20.7bn by 2015, driven in part a high level of product innovation in the category as well as by new functional gums.
However, the researchers warned that although chewing gums that offer functional properties may boost the gum market in the short term, they could prove to be counterproductive for gum manufacturers in the long term.
“In the short term, functional gum products may surge sales, however in the long run, they are a threat to the gum market,” GIA said. “Consumers, who used to purchase gum on impulse, would buy it only when they want to derive some functional benefit. With more functional gum products, there would be few impulse purchases, thereby restraining gum sales.”
Notable chewing gum brands also using functional ingredients include Cadbury’s Stride (vitamins B6 and B12) and Trident (Vitamin C, ginseng, tea) as well as Wrigley’s Extra Professional Calcium.