Speaking to ConfectioneryNews at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago, Mark Lozano, national sales manager for tna North America said: “Gummies are taking off like wildfire. You can’t find enough capacity for gummies. 80% of our confectionery enquiries are for gummies.”
He said it was the fruit flavored and fruit infused gummies that moms' give kids in a 1 oz (28 g) package that were “going through the roof”.
“It’s a single-serve, single use package. Usually there’s six to 18 in a carton and that seems to be exploding.”
“It’s easier for mom to hand the 28 g pack than it is to let kids have a big bag then have to roll it up and take it away,” he said.
“We as a company have an installed base of somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 machines in the US just doing gummies and we’re talking with people about capacity increases of 20-30%.”
According to Lozano, moving to single-serve gummie packs has significant implications for packaging equipment purchasing as speed becomes crucial.
“There’s a portion of time where you go from the mogul over to the packaging area and if you miss that timeframe you go into storage for weeks because a gummie will begin to bleed through its skin and once it does it sticks to everything and you can’t do anything about it.”
Snack industry inspiration
He said that tna was looking at how to increase speeds further. The company is traditionally a supplier of machinery to snack food makers and is applying some of the techniques for that industry to the confections market.
“Specifically in gummies we can apply oil with a snack food seasoning system and do the distribution. We have gateless distribution systems which means you don’t have any tear points for gummies.”
He said that avoiding tear points was key because if you leave any gummie residue behind it sticks to the equipment and can tear the next gummie. “You wind up with a built up lump, so if you have no gates, nothing mechanically that gets in the way of the gummie, you remove that problem."
Gummie packaging materials
Gummie packaging tends to use a co-extruded film with a sealant layer of foil and a print layer on the outside, and Lozano says he does not expect this to change.
“There’s some people who are tying to introduce paper type packages, but they are very difficult to run on high speed machinery. Everybody wants a pristine package, but when you go through high-speed equipment and you try to run paper, because of the way you are trying to pull tensions in a machine, you wind up creating lines in the film that are very difficult to get around.”