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Avoiding Sticky Situations

Confectionery manufacturers looking to take advantage of this growing sector for product
diversifi cation and extension do have to contend with more than a just sticky product.
Recent headlines among major chocolate processing companies as well as multinational confectionery
operations suggest that the increased consumer interest in confections in Asia Pacifi c countries, coupled with
the potential for even higher per capita consumption, has not gone unnoticed.
This growing appetite for confections applies to oth chocolate and sugar confections. A review of the gloal
confectionery market shows the Asia Pacifi c region accounting for !"#.$ illion or nearly $% percent of the
world&s sales, a $".' percent jump from last year, further solidifying Asia Pacifi c(s position as the largest
regional sugar confectionery market y retail value. )ithin the confectionery segments, the region posted $'
percent, $*.* percent and %.+ percent gains in the chocolate, sugar and gum segments, respectively. )ith the
gloal consolidation of the confectionery industry and complex supply chain, products are re,uired to maintain
their ,uality for a longer period of time. Confectionery products are especially sensitive products- hard candies,
iscuits, chocolates, jellied items, sugar coated drops or talets, sugar and popcorn often lose ,uality and shelf
life when they come into contact with air humidity that is too high. They can stick together, ecome moldy and
reak apart. .achines and pipes ecome clogged and production, transport and storage are impeded.
/Consumers today want limitless access to snacks and confectionery, so product staility throughout the entire
supply chain is crucial. Choosing the right ingredients helps to prevent stickiness and loss of fl avour over time,
therey guaranteeing the ,uality of the product during its shelf life,0 says 1dwin 2otenal, 2usiness
3evelopment, 4ood at Purac Corion.
Confectionery manufacturers looking to take advantage of this growing sector for product diversifi cation and
extension, however, do have to contend with more than a just sticky product.
Moisture and humidity control
All sweet things should come to a sticky end, preferaly in the mouth and not from opening the wrapper. This
arises ecause confectionery items such as chocolates, hard candies, chewing gums, ule gums, sweets,
and toffees are rich in sugar and hence are hygroscopic. /)hen the humidity is high, confectionery items regain
moisture and ecome sticky and prone to mould formation, making them soggy and visually unappealing,0
2otenal explains. 5ome typical prolems with moisture include loom in chocolates.
2loom is the result of fat and sugar crystals rising to the surface if the chocolate asors moisture during
packaging. .oisture also inhiits the natural fl ow, as material sticks to the high speed processing and
packaging machinery and also to the wrapping material. The processing thus slows down and moisture creates
a prolem with hygiene, resulting in loss of production as well as loss in the fi nal product ,uality.
6ncontrolled humidity and moisture during the manufacturing and coating process of confectionery 7chocolates,
candies, sweet snacks8 is responsile for the change in the structure9dimension of the fi lm core interface:
grainy and irregular coating: increase in residual moisture content: and improper adhesion, that is, degradation
of coating ,uality in the presence of moisture.
;umid conditions also affect storage life of candies. .ost candies are stored etween one week to aout a
year etween manufacture and consumption. 3uring this long period candies can ecome stale and sticky if
not kept under proper conditions. <t is important that a candy does not lose its ,uality and fl avour during
storage time. Any coated candy like gumalls or chocolate covered nuts can enefi t from using dry air to
speed drying, as high temperatures would melt the product. Coated candies or chocolates with a high ,uality
gloss surface fi nish can only e otained with the aid of dry air from desiccant dehumidifi ers.
Quality and shelf life dating
Another way to express the shelf life paradigm is to minimi=e the wrath of consumers when they come into
contact with a product that is no longer acceptale to eat. This re,uires an understanding of what ,uality level
is still acceptale at the end of shelf life, namely how much degradation of the product can occur efore too
many consumers consider it no longer acceptale. >pen dating alerts the consumer as to when the product is
either unsafe to consume or likely to no longer have suffi cient ,uality.
)hile some countries are not re,uired to use open dating, many products do indeed have some type of open
dating. An informal survey of the marketplace showed that aout *? percent of the confectionery products
sampled had some sort of date, with the majority preferring the est efore open@dating format. .ost dates
found on the packages were % to $' months from date of purchase or longer, indicative of the long shelf life of
most confections.
3etermining the proper date to e used in open dating can e done simply ased on commercial experience.
;owever, more formali=ed approaches are availale that allow ,uantitative determination of the end@use date.
Functional acids in confectionery
4ood@grade organic acids have diverse functionality and fulfi ll several roles. They have different sourness or
tartness intensities, taste perception and linger. 5ome organic acids like those used in confections offer ,uick
sour sensation and dissipate ,uickly. 1xamples would e citric acid and tartaric acid. Acids like fumaric, malic
and lactic may linger longer depending on other formulation parameters. These attriutes could e helpful with
sweeteners and fl avours to alance the overall taste profi le in confections.
Sugar Inversion
Another eneficial function of acid is its utili=ation to invert sugar. Acids used to control sugar inversion to make
invert sugar can have dual roles depending on the candy and p; level. Acid in hard candy containing high@
fructose corn syrup and sucrose in conventional ratios also functions to cause low sugar inversion. <nvert sugar
helps to prevent recrystalli=ation of sugar crystals, therey minimi=ing grittiness or sandiness in hard candy.
<nversion, when uncontrolled y correct acid usage levels, can cause candy to ecome sticky. Consumers
perceive this as poor ,uality, or even an expired product. Choosing the right 7comination8 of acids and uffers
will have a positive impact on the ,uality and shelf life of the candy.
Impact of pH in gelled confections
Aelled confections manufactured with starch, gelatin or pectin hydrocolloids are impacted y p;. <t is important
to maintain p; control and appropriate acidity levels in gelled confections to maintain staility. Back of p;
control may result in variations in the gel set of pectin. The set may occur too fast or too slow. 4or gelatin gels,
acidity and p; impact the strength of the gelatin set and may degrade it. Too much acid impacts gelatin gel
strength and decreases fi rmness. The gel strength of gelatin decreases at lower p; levels independent of acid
type. A possile remedy to help gel strength in the presence of acid is to add uffering salts or uffered acids in
the formulation to help control p;.
Candy fortifi cation
Candy fortifi cation represents another diverse function for acid. Ascoric acid, also known as vitamin C, is
used in gelled gummitype vitamin confections and regular gummi candy such as fruit snacks. Ascoric acid is
an essential nutrient and is synthesi=ed using cost@effective, natural fermentation of carohydrates. <n
formulating confections with ascoric acid, dosage levels may need to e optimi=ed to deliver targeted fortifi
cation levels due to heat, light and oxygen sensitivity of the acid.
Acid-sanding
Another trend to consider with acids in candy applications is acidsanding. This is the application of acids to the
outer layer of the candy. 5anding the outer layer of gelled confections has increased with the demand for more
sour taste.
/The challenge in acid@sanded confectionery is to prevent sucrose inversion from starting, ecause once it
starts, it is diffi cult, if not impossile, to stop. 5ucrose inversion in acid sanded confections results in a sticky
surface, making it unacceptale,0 2otenal reiterates. <ngredient specialists like Purac Corion have come up
with solutions to ensure that confectionery products remain dry throughout the product(s shelf life, and in some
cases offering an instantaneous, refreshing urst of acidity @ the fresh, fruity taste profi le make it ideal for acid
sanding in confectionery products. )hen developing an acid@sanded product, clean taste and product staility
are of high importance. Purac Corion&s range of powders provides an immediate and long lasting sour taste
and is highly stale. These powders are not coated with fat, so they provide a clean mouth@feel. 3ue to the low
hygroscopicity 7especially with the proprietary Powder .A8, the sanded candy remains dry and keeps its
appeti=ing appearance. The powder product range includes lactic acid powders and a malic acid powder
7Powder .A8.
The Powder .A malic acid is a uni,uely stale acid powder. <t was granted the ARA5 status in '?$', and is
now permitted for use in confectionery, powdered everages and jellies in the 6nited 5tates. The malic powder
offers options to comine specifi c taste profi les of these different acids with the fl avouring used in the end@
product. 5pecifi cally, the malic acid powder is coated with 5odium ;ydrogen .alate that lends greater staility
to sanded candies, preventing acid migration and gelatin degradation.
Balancing the profile
5weeteners and fl avours should work together. 4or example, if a sweetener lingers longer in taste,
organoleptically it may e etter for the fl avour to extend with the sweetener. <n this situation it may e more
advantageous to use an acid with a longer linger to alance the profi le. As a case in point, consider non@
sucrose confections with ulking agents and high@intensity sweeteners or consider candy formulations with
alternative sweeteners having different sweetness onset and linger. <t may e favourale to use the traditional
acid for the fl avour with an additional acid to complement the overall taste of the confection. <n the example
with the sweetener having a longer linger, one may consider using malic acid. <t lingers longer and may carry
through with the sweetener and flavour.
Acids provide taste characteristics associated with tartness9sour intensity, soluility and fl avour. The right acid
selection in confections will facilitate alance etween fl avour, sweetness and tartness. The confectionery
market is one of the most dynamic and creative markets in terms of new product developments. 4lavour
differentiation and product staility are crucial factors to developing new and successful confectionery products.
3ifferent key consumer groups 7children, adults, geographical spread8 are demanding new and increasingly
extreme fl avour profi les of these products. )hile consumer loyalty may e declining, the market is open to
new, innovative, high ,uality confectionery products. The choice of acid, uffers and functional ingredients is
critical in this process.
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