The newly-granted European patent means Corbion is the only supplier who can produce powders for acid sanding applications with this technique, which, the firm claims, improves confectionery shelf-life and offers increased sourness. Corbion has also been granted a patent in China, and is pursuing patent applications in the US and Brazil.
By using partially-neutralised acid to coat acid powder particles, the technique eliminates the problems associated with fat coatings, such as rancidity, while still preventing the powder from attracting moisture or being absorbed by the candy, Corbion claims.
Sour from the start
“The other thing, because we use a partially-neutralised acid as a coating, we still have some sourness in the exterior, in the coating itself. So if you taste the powder, you’ll have a little bit of sourness, and then a lot of sourness – it doesn’t have to melt through like it does with a fat-coated product, you get direct sourness from the coating itself,” said Hans Schinck, market manager for confectionery at Corbion.
According to Schinck, the firm has been working on building the business around its proprietary acid powder since applying for the patent in 2007. The company is seeing growing momentum for its two malic acid products, Purac Powder MA, and Purac Powder MA31, which offers greater sourness at the cost of some stability, he said.
“We’re seeing tremendous growth, driven by the need for more intense sourness in sugar confectionery. That’s a trend we see globally, but most predominantly in markets like the US and Western Europe, specifically France – extreme sourness is a very mature category segment there,” said Schinck.
Sour gum and marshmallows
Along with traditional applications such as sour gummy sweets – the original focus of the powders – he said the firm’s customers are finding innovative uses for the powders, with a chewing gum recently launched in Latin America, and other products in development in Europe and the US.
“Chewing gum is extremely sensitive to moisture, you don’t want your ingredients to attract moisture from the gum itself, because it will become brittle. With Purac Powder MA you can get little bursts of sourness into the chewing gum, without it deteriorating the gum base itself,” said Schinck.
“Also marshmallows – they are very sensitive to acidulants, but they’re also extremely sweet. Sweet and sour always have a nice play on each other, so you can actually add sourness on the exterior of the marshmallow – the same principle as with gelatine sweets – and have a really nice product proposition,” he added.