Functional Jellies Special Feature

Are functional jellies and candy a good fit for the confectionery sector?

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Functional jellies, what's the problem? Pic: GettyImages
Functional jellies, what's the problem? Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Functional food CBD

In a series of articles, ConfectioneryNews looks at some of the benefits, and also the issues, of using dietary and medicinal ingredients in sweets.

The use of confectionery products to carry over-the-counter (OTC) medications or dietary supplements is increasing as consumers realise that hard candy, jellies or fruit products are one of the quickest ways of getting nutrients into the body.

The demand for functional jellies continues to grow with herbal extracts, cannabinoids and vitamins proving a good fit with the mainstream candy sector.

funtional gummies granb barker perkins
Types of use for functional jellies and candies, courtesy of Barker Perkins

Any product that claims a functional benefit must have the active ingredients present in the quantities claimed. This requires the active ingredient to be accurately dosed -  that it suffers minimal heat or mechanical degradation, and finished portions are precisely controlled.

Whether choosing hard candy, jellies or fruit products, the accuracy, control and hygiene of both cooking and depositing processes are crucial, writes​ Keith Graham, Marketing Manager at Baker Perkins, a UK-based supplier of processing systems and equipment to the food industry.

Medicated products

The smooth mouthfeel and slow release of deposited hard candy are ideal for medicated products while jelly and fruit products may be suited to functional applications. Both products can be made with sugar and be sugar free, he writes.

The term ‘functional’, in this case, relates to something added over and above to what is already in the food. In the case of gummy bears, it means added vitamins, minerals, herbals or, increasingly, CBD.

But with booming brands and inconsistent regulations, the use of CBDs in candy remains an ongoing argument in the confectionery industry.

In the UK, CN’s sister title,​, reported earlier this year that the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), which aims to create a safe, legal and well-regulated CBD market in the UK, says it is in high-level discussions with the Laboratory of Government Chemists (LGC) to develop more precise methods for testing CBD in foods. This, claims ACI, would mark an ‘essential step towards standardisation for the industry’.

Recreational Marijuana/CBD

Meanwhile, in the US, the CBD candy market continues to evolve with recreational marijuana/CBD legal in 10 states in the US and also in Canada. At a talk during the 2019 Sweets & Snacks Expo, Marcia Mogelonsky, Mintel’s Director of Insight, described the ingredient as a “new horizon​”.

She said recreational marijuana/CBD is now confectionery’s ‘frenemy’. “There is going to be lots of room to develop chocolate, gum and candy with recreational marijuana in them and it will be a real game changer​.”

So far, CBD confections have not been permitted on the floor at North America’s biggest trade fair, the Sweets and Snacks Expo, and organizers, the National Confectioners Association (NCA), are still undecided whether to allow them at the next show, scheduled for June 2021.

We're working on it. We’re working on a game plan. Things are happening so fast​,” NCA president and CEO John Downs told Candy Industry magazine.

The 2018 Farm Bill supposedly gave food manufactures the greenlight to create CBD-infused products, but regulations around CBD products still remain unclear, and may even need an Act of Congress as it could illegal still at federal level.

Our companies are being fairly prudent in terms of taking a wait-and-see approach because of the complexity and murkiness as it relates to the federal regulatory framework​,” said Downs.

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