"I've been working for Roquette for more than six years and probably it's the most innovative concept in the confectionery area that we've achieved,” Thierry Laurent, business development manager for confectionery at Roquette, told ConfectioneryNews at the recent trade fair Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) in Paris.
"It's a possibility for a regular confectioner to enter the chewing gum market,” he said. “This is a candy without any lamination stage, even though at the end it's a chewing gum."
Roquette created a product concept it calls ‘So-Softy’ for FiE. It uses a plant-based ingredient derived mainly from starch called Matgum ACG, which replaces part of the gum base.
Growing your range of confections
It can be used to create stick or pellet gum or a novel cubed version. "All producers of jellies or chewy candies are able to handle it and process it, so they can enlarge their range of confections without big investment,” said Laurent.
"For chewing gum producers they can also increase their portfolio of confections without using lamination stage, so they can keep production facilities for their regular chewing gum range,” he continued.
Producers of the novel confection will require mixing and cooking equipment as well as an extruder to shape the product.
Flavor and texture
The Roquette confectionery product manager said So-Softy has an intense flavor and is discarded like regular gum.
"If you taste it you will experience something very soft… it starts like a plastic texture and then bite after bite it becomes more elastic,” said Laurent.
He added that a softer center made the gum seem crunchier, so a manufacturer can reduce the gum’s coating layer while maintaining texture. "Crunchiness is a key attribute for consumers when they buy chewing gum,” he said.
Polyols and common chewing gum flavors such as peppermint, spearmint and fruit flavors are all compatible.
“It's also environmentally-friendly,” claimed Laurent.
Regular gum bases typically account for around 30% of a single chewing gum piece. They are indigestible and water insoluble and can damage the environment when improperly discarded.
By comparison, Roquette’s So-Softy concept contains a maximum of 20% gum base per piece.
"There’s no biodegradation, but because it's half a chewy candy and half a chewing gum, from a mechanical point of view the chewy part decreases. And it's not a simple chewy candy, it's also a gelatine-free chewy candy,” said Laurent.
"The formulation will be cheaper because one of the most expensive ingredients in chewing gum is the gum base,” he added.
Roquette said it had received strong interest at FiE and a European company plans to launch the first commercial product with the starch ingredient in early 2016.
The ingredients supplier has also introduced a similar starch-based ingredient to create gelatine-free sugar confectionery. Read more HERE.