Guangdong Baida Biotechnology Co Ltd has been manufacturing popping candy as general foods for over 25 years, exporting its products to around 100 countries.
In fact, it claims to make popping candy for well-known brands such as Warheads and Kool-Aid.
About two years ago, the company studied how nutraceutical ingredients, namely vitamin C and Bifidobacterium, could be incorporated into its popping candy.
One advantage of doing so is that it offers a new sensory experience for consumers when taking nutraceuticals.
“The existing functional foods that you see in the market are gummies, tablets, jellies, but there’s no other delivery formats. But popping candy could also serve as a good delivery format and we also plan to focus on the health sector for these few years,” Angela Xu, director of the department of health product, told NutraIngredients-Asia at Vitafoods Asia 2023 held in Bangkok between September 20 and 22.
As vitamin C and Bifidobacterium degrades when they are exposed to oxygen, moisture, and heat, another advantage of popping candy, is that the carbon dioxide used to create the popping effect could help slow down the degradation process.
This is based on a study conducted by the South China University of Technology earlier this year, said Xu.
Comparing ascorbic acid or vitamin C mixed with sugar, the study showed that ascorbic acid delivered in popping candy could retain a significantly higher amount of ascorbic acid in a 15-day period.
A similar study was also conducted comparing the CFU of live Bifidobacterium mixed with sugar versus popping candy.
“This is because popping candy will release carbon dioxide, which can form an anaerobic environment within the packaging, and so it can slow down the degradation of vitamin C and Bifidobacterium.
“In the case of gummies, which contains a high amount of water, but we can control it to a low level in popping candy, and so we can better protect the nutrients.”
In October, the company will be launching its first popping candy containing vitamin C for sale via Douyin (TikTok), The Little Red Book, Tmall, before entering the offline sector.
The company hopes to build industry awareness around functional popping candy by launching its branded product into the market.
Currently, it is selling popping candy as general foods under the brand name Xrock in China.
Aside from its own branded products, it also provides OEM/ODM service, or sell its popping candy as raw ingredients to other businesses.
Some of the companies that are using its popping candy include Mengniu, which has incorporated its popping candy in its yogurt product known as 蒙牛纯甄馋酸奶跳跳糖坚果牛奶. The product consists of yogurt and a separate pack containing popping candy, freeze dried dragon fruit in dice, and nuts. Consumers can mix the pack with the yogurt.
As a first-time exhibitor at Vitafoods Asia, Xu said the concept of popping candy nutraceuticals or “popping supplement” has received greater interest from India and Taiwan firms.
“We saw a lot of nutritional ingredients in the show, and we could possibly incorporate these other ingredients into the popping candy format,” she said.
Interest from biotech companies
In mainland China, Xu said the firm had received queries about its functional popping candy from at least 100 companies, which were all biotechnology companies, for the past two years.
This shows that companies are constantly on the lookout for new dosage formats, she said.
“In the past two years, I have received queries from at least 100 companies, regardless of whether a deal has passed through or not. But from here, you can see that companies are looking for a new dosage format to make nutraceuticals.
“There’s just too many variations these days, especially with the rise of influencers, KOLs making their own products to sell online, and so, companies are always looking for new innovations to attract consumers.”