Mouthwateringly Tasty

WACKER is launching CANDY2GUM® – a completely new confectionery manufacturing technology – onto the market. This makes it possible to produce chewy candy that turns into chewing gum in the mouth, opening up entirely new prospects for the sugar confectionery industry.

Mouthwateringly Good Podcast | Jun 29, 2018 | 05:59 Min

The chewing of gum-like substances appears to always have been a basic human need. Archeologists found the oldest specimen to date of a precursor to chewing gum when they excavated a 9,000-year-old settlement in southern Sweden. The ancient Greeks were also fond of similar substances. Some 2,000 years ago, they chewed on the resin of the mastic tree, which is still harvested on the Greek island of Chios. Nowadays, chewing gum is generally based on synthetically produced solid resins that serve as carriers for sugar, sweeteners and flavorings.

„The CANDY2GUM® technology can be used to formulate unprecedented confectionery.“

Dr. Martin Seizl, Business Development Manager at WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS

60 Years of Experience

The candy mass based on CAPIVA® C03 can be pulled for a couple of minutes to finetune the mouthfeel. Afterwards, this mass can be flattened manually or run through the batch roller, rope sizer or extruder.

The production of raw materials for the chewing gum industry is also a WACKER tradition. For over 60 years now, the company has been a leading supplier of food-grade polyvinyl acetate solid resins, which industry uses to make gum base. Together with finely ground sugar and concentrated flavorings, the gum base is kneaded into chewing gum at around 60 degrees Celsius. This gives the mixture a tough and tacky consistency, which is why it must be processed by powerful specialty machines. The choice of ingredients is limited. Water-based additives are not suitable, because they would dissolve the sugar out of the gum mixture. The disadvantage of fatbased ingredients is that they make the gum base extremely soft. This would cause the chewing gum to simply disintegrate in the mouth while being chewed instead of forming a homogeneous mass.

According to the Euromonitor market database, roughly 1,000 kilotons of chewing gum were sold worldwide in 2015 alone. The same period saw sales of gumdrops, jelly and chewy candy that were more than double that quantity. This also includes soft candy, as flexible sugar bars are known in the industry, which is available in every flavor variation – from all kinds of fruit to milk and even soft chocolate centers. These are based on a melted sugar solution, which is boiled with glucose syrup at approximately 100 to 130 degrees Celsius. Water- and fat-based ingredients such as milk, cream, honey, cocoa, nuts, vitamins and other flavorings, as well as colorings, can easily be added to the boiled sugar mixture. Chewy candy is produced in a continuous boiling process. Since sugar dissolves in water, it is also very easy to clean the equipment. Chewy candy thus has decisive advantages over chewing gum. However, it has a weak point: due to its sugar base, the calorie content is high.

Chewing gum, on the other hand, provides a long-lasting chewing experience without giving you a guilty conscience – the calorie intake is considerably lower. In addition, the chewing of gum stimulates the formation of saliva, which increases the pH value in the mouth, neutralizing the acids that attack tooth enamel. Alkaline saliva can also remineralize teeth. To prevent tooth decay, only sugar-free gum should be chewed, of course.

The Best of Both Worlds

WACKER’s new CANDY2GUM® technology combines the best of both worlds: the texture of chewing gum with the boiling options of chewy candy. “This opens up entirely new possibilities for integrating ingredients. The CANDY2GUM® technology can be used to formulate unprecedented confectionery,” says Dr. Martin Seizl, business development manager at WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS. Plus, CANDY2GUM® makes for an entirely new mouthfeel. It starts as a chewy candy and then turns into chewing gum after a short time in the mouth.

The secret of CANDY2GUM® lies in its basic ingredient. WACKER’s preformulated CAPIVA® C03 mixture serves as the base. It is insoluble in water and melts fully, which means it can be blended uniformly. CAPIVA® C03 is suitable for blending with both sugary and sugar-free candy mixtures, which opens up numerous opportunities for novel confectionery products.

Since CAPIVA® C03 melts fully, manufacturers can make these products using conventional candy boiling processes. “We are thus producing the first raw material worldwide that makes it possible to boil chewing-gum-like candy and shape it as required instead of kneading it elaborately,” explains Dr. Thomas Wimmer, head of the chewing gum lab run by the WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS division.

„Hard-candy production facilities are perfectly equipped for handling the CANDY2GUM® technology.“

Volker Günnel, Engineer and area sales manager at Chocotech

Volker Günnel, an engineer at Chocotech, is convinced that candy producer will appreciate the great amount of flexibility offered by the CANDY2GUM® technology.

A chewing gum was successfully boiled for the first time in December 2013 at a WACKER food-technology laboratory in Burghausen. “We wanted to find out whether what we did in a cooking pot would also work on an industrial scale,” says Wimmer. That’s why the team got in contact with the confectionery machinery maker Chocotech in Wernigerode, Germany, in early 2014. “We were excited about the CANDY2GUM® technology from the start, because it can be used to make a completely new type of candy. We wanted to find out whether the technology would work with conventional equipment,” says Volker Günnel, a qualified engineer and area sales manager at Chocotech.

Chocotech equips well-known German and international confectionery manufacturers with machinery for producing hard and soft candy, fruit-flavored jelly candy, caramel and whipped sugar mixtures. In industrial-scale production, candy manufacturers normally use continuous cookers that produce confectionery in a nonstop chain process. While the ingredients are weighed into the first pot in batches in accordance with the recipe, finished candy comes out at the end of the process in a continuous loop.

Continuously produced CANDY2GUM® mass cools down on a hard-candy tempering belt of a SUCROMASTER®.

Chocotech tests showed that the CANDY2GUM® technology can be used in a continuous boiling process, but some adjustments were required. For two years, WACKER food technicians refined the preformulated CAPIVA® C03 mixture so that it could be used in industrial production. In addition, Chocotech engineers worked on adapting conventional production machinery and processes for the new CANDY2GUM® technology. Ultimately, the engineers equipped a machine that usually produces hard candy with an additional melting container for CAPIVA® C03, including pump and flow meter. “The ready-to-use premix is melted in separate containers and only mixed with the sugar mixture and flavorings in one of the final production steps to minimize cleaning,” explains Günnel. At the end, the cooled mixture runs through a cut-and-wrap machine that cuts the candy into bite-sized pieces and packages them.

A little Investment Pays Off

“Generally speaking, hard-candy production facilities are perfectly equipped for handling the CANDY2GUM® technology. Traditional hard-candy manufacturers can considerably expand their product portfolio with little investment spending,” explains Günnel. His customers can thus gain a great amount of flexibility.

WACKER started to present the new CANDY2GUM® technology to various customers and partners in 2015. A market study that was commissioned by WACKER and involved 4,000 participants worldwide shows that CANDY2GUM® is also received well by end consumers. Regardless of where they were from, those surveyed found the integration of natural ingredients such as real fruit juice and vitamins particularly interesting. In the USA, consumers are especially looking forward to chewing-gum-like candy with real caramel. In China, the underlying idea got an impressive 70-percent approval rating, particularly because real milk or coconut milk could be added to the confectionery.

Great Market Potential

The CANDY2GUM® technology opens up the possibility of adding natural ingredients to the boiling process.

It is also remarkable that all age groups in China rate CANDY2GUM® as highly promising. Seizl believes that this is due to growing health awareness: “CANDY2GUM® offers an opportunity of adding fresh, natural flavoring ingredients such as milk or fruit juice to chewing gum. This is very popular with Chinese people of all ages.” A study by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture on the topic of “potential of German confectionery in China” shows that, when it comes to the consumption of sugar confectionery, the Chinese place particular importance not only on taste, but also on product innovations. In other words, Chinese consumers have a fondness for new, unusual food.

With retail sales of over $15 billion, China is the second-biggest confectionery market in the world after the USA. The chewing-gum market, in particular, has been registering above-average growth for years. The focus is primarily on sugar-free products. Health is a key sales argument here. Natural ingredients obtained from fruit or plants are very popular with consumers, too. “Nowadays, one in three people will give the list of ingredients a critical glance before putting confectionery in their shopping cart,” explains Seizl. CANDY2GUM® can furthermore be used to produce functional candy with health-promoting ingredients. The technology makes alternative product forms for active ingredients such as vitamin C possible.

“The new CANDY2GUM® technology rounds out both our successful VINNAPAS® food-grade solid resins for gum base and our innovative CAPIVA® products, expanding the multifaceted WACKER portfolio for the chewing gum and confectionery industry,” says Seizl. From January 29 to February 1, WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS showcased the technology at the ProSweets confectionery supplier tradeshow in Cologne, Germany, for the first time. The first products made with CANDY2GUM® technology are expected to be launched on the market during 2017, offering consumers worldwide an entirely new chewing experience.