Roquette expands sugar-free gum possibilities

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chewing gum

French firm Roquette has developed what it claims is a unique
approach to applying sugar-free ingredients to current 'deposited
gum' technology.

The company claims that this breakthrough could help confectionery makers take advantage of opportunities in the ever-growing sugar-free market while at the same time extending their product ranges into new sectors.

"This sugar-based gum-to-mould or deposited-gum technology was developed some years ago by Cafosa, the leading gum base supplier,"​ said the company in a statement.

"The technology offers chewing gum manufacturers the opportunity to develop new and appealing concepts in product shapes, colour combinations and centre-fillings."

For example, using a dual depositor, chewing gum can be filled with a flavoured liquid centre, based on N 80/55 HDS, a ready-to-use maltitol syrup. Stripped chewing gums with different colours can also be created.

Another option this technique offers is the incorporation of chewing gum in a sugar-free hard-boiled candy.

But confectionery manufacturers also have to balance the demand for product innovation with the growing popularity of sugar-free gum. Indeed, sugar-free continues to be a major driving force within the confectionery sector, and confectionery companies are waking up to the fact that calorie-counting consumers are increasingly more likely to opt for low-sugar, low-fat alternatives to traditional brands.

Figures from market analyst Mintel indicate that just over 34 per cent of UK consumers are now actively avoiding sugar, while in France and Germany, the figures are 40 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

As a result, sugar-free gum occupies 99 per cent of the market in Poland, 95 per cent in Russia and 92 per cent in the UK. And in Roquette's home country of France where sugar-free has a market share of 88 per cent, traditional sugar chewing gum consumption was down 16 per cent against a 13 per cent rise in sales of the sugar-free alternatives.

The problem, according to Roquette, is that adapting existing sugar-free chewing gum recipes, developed for conventional manufacturing to fit deposited gum technology, is not always easy. To achieve this, Roquette used a special gum from Cafosa and created a formulation that combines two polyols - Maltisorb maltitol and Xylisorb xylitol.

"Maltitol was chosen for the texture it creates and the sweetness profile it delivers, while xylitol brings the functional benefit of viscosity reduction to the depositing hoppers,"​ said the company.

"An additional distinguishing feature is the optimum taste that the two polyols together impart to the finished product."

Roquette claims that the formulation has been successfully tested in chewing gum production at Baker Perkins, a depositing process specialist.

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