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China’s sweet tooth drives TIC Gums innovation

By Kacey Culliney , 02-Apr-2012

Smart move: China sweetens up - TIC Gums jumps in
Smart move: China sweetens up - TIC Gums jumps in

Food technologist, TIC Gums, has launched a candy coating technology in China in the wake of a stark surge in the consumption of sweets across the country, fuelled by rising incomes and increasingly Westernised palates.

The US-based firm, specialising in texture and stabilisation solutions, found demand for sweets (or candy), chocolate and candied fruit had spiked significantly in recent years.

TIC Gums’ low-cost coating system for confectioners, TicaPan, binds and strengthens the sugar and sugar alcohol shell in panned sweets. The product was launched at the Food Industry China trade show at the end of March.

Harold Nicoll, marketing manager at TIC Gums, said that market promise in China’s confectionery sector, with increasing incomes and a trend towards Western tastes and culture, spurred the product launch: “It was a nice nexus of opportunities.”

“Market conditions were right for the technology,” Nicoll told FoodNavigator-Asia.

“Chocolate candy and candy-covered gum are two areas we see the most growth in,” he said.

Coated candy

TicaPan is an ideal alternative to gum arabic, Nicoll said, with many advantages for confectionery manufacturers as it is around 20% lower in cost, has a shorter drying time, a whiter finish and harder, crunchier shells.

“It is an exact match in viscosity [to gum Arabic] over a wide range of concentrations, making it ideal for many applications,” Nicoll said, “[and] its faster drying means better production efficiency with no added equipment or other out of pocket costs.”

A sweet eclectic mix

China’s confectionery industry is comprised of international brands and local products, Nicoll said, and the new technology will be targeted at both.

TicaPan will broaden TIC Gums’ portfolio in China, he noted, as it already supplies a full line of hydrocolloids and stabilisers.

The company has been working in the country for more than six years and is involved in some contract manufacturing, he said, but there are plans in place to change this with a production facility to be opened in late 2013.

The candy coating technology has been commercially available in the US for two years, and was introduced to Europe at the end of January, 2012.

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