Sugar confectionery processing evolves for nutraceutical age

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Fortified gummie bears out of the woods for adults, but can they be made without expensive starch operations?
Fortified gummie bears out of the woods for adults, but can they be made without expensive starch operations?

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Sugar confectionery processing suppliers are having to adapt to increased demand for nutraceutical confections, which require more complex handling.

Frank Temme, managing director of Hänsel Processing, told ConfectioneryNews: “In sugar confectionery we really feel that some specific products are more and more required in the market, which are nutritional products -anything that gives the consumers something more than just a candy.

“People are asking for something special. Jelly, gum or hard candy, but always with an added benefit.”

Hänsel Processing: Differentiated products

He said this meant having a product that nobody else had through either novel ingredients, color or shape.

“It’s not only functional ingredients. It’s also sometimes a specific filling inside that a product is for example crunchy and fresh – it’s mouthfeel that the product is on the surface different from a normal candy.”

“You always need to have something that nobody else has - then you have a selling point.”

Bainbridge: High margin nutraceutical gummies

Ross Bainbridge, managing director of Bainbridge Associates, said that he was noticing a big move towards nutraceutical gummies.

“In the last three or four years, candy confections  - gummies, jellies and boxed chocolates - have been a bit quiet, but the latest trend is that it’s going towards gummie vitamins or gummie nutraceutical products – which is a huge market.

“That’s what’s very active right now because they have higher margins and that’s creating some companies to take notice. Larger companies are willing to spend the money to get into that business.”

Adults move for fortified gummies

He said that consumer demand for gummies fortified with vitamins, calcium or fiber was growing and products were reaching new consumers.

“It seems people like to eat a gummie – maybe they relate it to a confectionery item. It started with kids -  children eating a one-a-day vitamin - and it’s gone into the adult market.”

Eliminating starch: The next step

Gummies are rich in moisture and starch must be used to kill off moisture in order to get the positive health impact from functional ingredients.

“Maybe the next invention is to find out methods, formulations or processes that allow you to deposit directly into plastic containers without starch. That’s just starting to become a question and it’s an area that we have to investigate.”

He said starch operations required very costly equipment and support services such as electricity.

“The idea would be to get rid of that process so all you have is a depositor depositing into a plastic mold. But it still gets back to depositing at the right solids to be able to do that because starch isn’t around to absorb the moisture and if you get too thick, you can’t deposit.”

He said that he expected a solution would be found in next three to five years. 

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