The Israeli ingredients company said that flavours in chewing gum and chewy candy usually last only about five minutes. Yet consumers are attracted by confectionery that tastes good for longer, and are more likely to buy such products again. "Flavour is a key factor in candy and gum sales," said Udi Alroy, VP global sales and marketing at LycoRed. To help manufacturers cash in, there is a big opportunity for ingredient suppliers to come up with innovations that extend this time frame. LycoRed's answer is the encapsulation of sweeteners and flavour enhancers in a combination of cellulose derivatives and hydrogenated vegetable oils. This means that as the consumer chews, the capsules are gradually weakened and finally broken and a new burst of flavour is released into the mouth. The innovation has been seen in tests to extend the time that a product is flavoursome for more than 10 or 12 minutes, compared to the usual five. The company is offering encapsulated sucralose called SucraCote, aspartame called AsparCote, acesulfam K called AcesuCote, and malic acid called CapsuDar. All three of the sweet ingredients are already used in confectionery and chewing gums. As well as being sweeteners, both aspartame and acesulfam K can enhance fruit flavours, and acesulfam K also has the same effect on mint flavours. Sucralose, meanwhile, is particularly suitable for use in tooth-friendly products - a popular area for gum - since it does not support growth of oral bacteria. The malic acid ingredient is intended to impart a sour taste to confectionery products. A spokesperson for LycroRed told FoodNavigator.com that the company had originally developed the encapsulation technology for slow-release of ingredients internally, during the digestive process. This is the first time it has been used in a coating context. Alroy is positive about the potential of the new ingredients on the market place, and cited a recent report from Global Business Insights that showed chewing gum to be the fastest growing segment of the confectionery market in the US, with an annual compound growth rate of 5.2 per cent. "Gum manufacturers have a huge opportunity here for growth through innovation," he said. "Sugar-free gums are particularly hot".