Flavour and finish

Gelling agent solutions must tickle different tastes, but ingredients on the market today reflect the interest in multi-faceted innovations like fast-setting gelatin, writes Editor Caitlin Gittins 

Fundamentally, gelling agents used in gummy and jelly applications need to deliver on flavour, firmness and texture. Whether the end product is marketed as a plant-based gummy in recognition of growing numbers of consumers leading alternative diets looking for confectionery to match, or as a conventional gummy formulated with gelatin, the end result must present a product consumers can appreciate and enjoy. 

“The expansion of the gummy and jelly market has been primarily driven by a surging appetite for innovative confectionery delights and unique sensory experiences,” explained Pierre Albert Thomas, Global Director, Rousselot Functional Ingredients. “In addition, advancements in formulation technology over the years facilitated continuous product innovation and differentiation, with the introduction of innovative flavours, and even the inclusion of active ingredients, capturing the interest of a wide consumer base, even beyond the confectionery industry.” 

“The selection of a gelling agent significantly influences the enjoyment experienced during consumption,” added Sophia Pai, VP Global Applications and NOAM Technical Services, Tate & Lyle. 

Gelatin continues to occupy a large part of the market, although the popularity of pectin for its ability to have vegan claims has risen. Edith Bijman, Product Application Expert, Confectionery at dsm-firmenich referred to vegan gummies as an “unstoppable juggernaut in the confectionery space”, which included highly functional pectins.  

“Natural polysaccharides commonly derived from fruit skin and peels, high methoxyl pectins make a good gelling agent for manufacturing vegan confectionery,” Edith added.  

Hydrocolloids tackled by machines 

Gelling agents make up a base ingredient for gummies and jellies. Key ingredients are mixed together in a large vat and then cooked until it forms that recognisable ‘slurry’, after which it is poured into moulds for shaping and cooling – be this starch moulding or starchless. 

Mixers need to be sensitive to gelling agents like gelatin because they can be easily affected by temperature fluctuations, resulting in clumping. “Customers come to us for mixing solutions in regard to gelling agents and hydrocolloids because of the powder’s tendency to form lumps when added to liquids, even if they have been premixed with other powders,” explained Matt Smith, Sales Director at Silverson Machines. 

High shear mixers are often used for processing a wide range of hydrocolloids, “they can disperse gelling agents and hydrocolloids in a fraction of the time taken by conventional mixing equipment such as agitators and stirrers,” said Matt. 

Challenges sometimes faced by mixing hydrocolloids is not having enough shear to break the agglomerates down, Matt told me. “With high shear mixers the high-speed rotation of the rotor creates a powerful suction which draws the ingredients into the workhead where they are intensively mixed in the gap between the rotor and stator, breaking down any agglomerates which may have formed.”  

Gelatin vs alternative gelling agents  

Gelling agent solutions launches in the last few years reflect how ingredient suppliers are in  tune with what kind of challenges manufacturers may face in processing; for instance, launching a fast-setting gelatin solution that provides manufacturers with the best of both worlds…

Read the full feature in our magazine.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920
Email: editor@in-confectionery.com

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