Tickling tastebuds

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From tangy sourness to sweet fruit flavours, product finishing is key for taste, texture and overall product quality, writes Assistant Editor Joseph Clarke 


Coatings and flavourings are integral to candy processing, not only to ensure it is flavourful but also to reduce technical challenges such as reducing sticking during moulding, reducing the amount of sugar that is lost during conveying and more. 

Flavourful candy is the result of a carefully controlled process whereby flavourings, acids and oils are added after the cooking stage during the product finish. What comes after the cooking process requires careful control of parameters such as temperature and moisture content and equipment that can handle candy product without waste, downtime and with quick changeovers is becoming more desirable. 

Trends in taste 

Wide-ranging taste trends reflect a chance to see how consumer palates evolve, explained Ruby Rafanan, Senior Innovation Manager at Island Abbey Nutritionals. “Flavours that were considered exotic 10 to 20 years ago are now mainstream, such as mango and dragonfruit. Consumers demand variety beyond berry and citrus and mixing new and old flavours in confectionery like berry-pomegranate and orange-hibiscus is a great trend that implements flavours from around the world and combining them with familiar tastes,” she said. 

Chiming in, Phillip DaSilva, VP of Business Development at Island Abbey Nutritionals explained that the nutraceutical market is more nuanced. “Nutraceutical brands tend to stay simple with their flavour selection due to regulatory and labelling guidelines,” he commented. “Natural flavours are the norm to maintain clean labels while ingredient masking becomes the most difficult task. 

“For example, a multivitamin may contain 15+ active ingredients which will provide a vitamin-forward and often bitter flavour. Berry flavours do the best to mask these notes.” 

A survey conducted by Corbion last year reinforced the point that flavour will always top consumers’ lists of what they’re looking for in candy. “In most categories buyers’ decisions are driven by price, however for sugar confectionery consumers’ choice is driven by taste, flavour and a well-established reputation,” explained Willy van Arkel-van Arendonk, Senior Manager Business Development & Product Management at Corbion.  

The results of the survey showed that 64% listed flavour/taste as the top attribute they pay attention to when purchasing confectionery products, 59% look at price and 41% go off of familiarity.  

“It’s crucial to make candies with a great sensory experience that keeps customers coming back,” she stressed, adding: “However, using certain acids to enhance sourness can sometimes influence the candy’s stability.” 

Sensory experience must be looked at from the dimension of “flavour intensity,” explained Willy, “and lasting time. The acids we apply in the inside or outside of the candies have a big impact on the sensory experience of the confectionery. So, picking the right acid or buffered acid mix and improving the stability of the candy is key to enable innovative sensory experiences that customers love, especially since flavour experience is the key buying factory when it comes to repeat purchases.” 

Sourness, said Willy, is determined by Total Acidity (TA) vs pH. “With buffers you can manage the pH, with the sourness you want. This approach enables high sourness without sugar inversion, thereby obtaining nice and stable candies. Optimising the right acid profile with the sensory sensation you want to create.” 


Read the full feature in our magazine.

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Media contact

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

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