Taking candy treats to the next level

through sensory experiences


According to research by food anthropologist Caroline Hobkinson, alongside food nostalgia and permissive indulgence, sensory experiences will be important to consumers over the coming 20 years. Here Rudy Wouters, Vice-President of the BENEO-Technology Center, discusses how technical challenges are being overcome to deliver unusual sensory confectionery treats that tap into this trend.

Sensory explosion

Increasingly, manufacturers are looking at ways to provide consumers with new and exciting confectionery experiences. Brands that can deliver strong sensory qualities are the most likely to stand out and this means experimenting with new confectionery colours, designs, packaging and textures to truly tantalise our senses.

Translating this trend and overcoming a range of technical challenges, the experts at the BENEO-Technology Center have been working on a range of unique candy and gum applications to help demonstrate the potential for new confectionery coatings. The end result is a raft of new product concepts from BENEO. These include: ReMix – a translucent coated chewing gum, Mellow Moments – a translucent coated chewy candy, and Rush – a soft mint chewable with sanded coating. While each of these applications face different challenges in the production process, they all have one thing in common: BENEO’s sugar replacer isomalt. Thanks to different grades being available, coupled with isomalt’s unique technical characteristics, the sugar replacer can help manufacturers overcome various challenges in the production process and offer individual solutions for confectionery applications.

Translucent coated chewing gum

Traditionally, creating gums with different colours, textures and flavours requires a lot of resources in terms of materials, energy, time and therefore cost. As, if using another sugar replacer that does not crystalize translucently like isomalt, each different gum would need to be coated individually. However, thanks to the technical properties of isomalt, it is possible to produce these in a much more efficient way, while achieving the same high quality.

Rather than using different coloured coatings to match the gum centres, manufacturers can instead develop unique sugar-free gum cores that deliver different taste, texture ‘crunch’ sensations and colour. Then, it is simply a case of just using one translucent coating, allowing the colourful core to be visible, while saving a huge amount time and money in comparison to the commonly used individual coating process.

BENEO’s ReMix new concept is a great example of this. In development trials, different grades of BENEO’s isomalt (Isomalt GS and Isomalt ST) were used in the range of coloured and flavoured gum cores to create various texture and crunch experiences. As Isomalt GS is the only polyol that is translucent when crystallised, it was ideal for coating all of the different chewing gum cores at the same time, using one single syrup coating solution process.

Finally, no gum Arabic was needed in the ReMix new concept trials, as Isomalt GS has good elasticity and flexibility after coating. It is also a stable coating that delivers excellent shelf life and, as isomalt comes from sucrose, it has a sugar-like mild taste that enhances subtle flavours, but importantly, it has no aftertaste or cooling effect.

Coating with rice starch and isomalt
Coated chewing candy
Sanded coating


Translucent coated chewy candy

Creating a hard coating with an even surface on a soft chew can also be challenging. The team at the BENEO-Technology Center experimented with isomalt to overcome this issue and the new recipe concept, Mellow Moments was created.

Extruded, formed, sugar-free, chewy candy pellets were created using BENEO’s isomalt which also stabilised the candy’s core texture. This was then coated with Isomalt GS, ensuring the resulting chewy candy delivered a pleasant crunch and excellent shelf life. Furthermore, as a result of isomalt’s good stability, the coating layer does not absorb water, which prevents softening and eliminates the need for individual confectionery wrapping. In addition, the high solubility of Isomalt GS results in a shorter coatings time and requires lower temperatures, therefore allowing for savings on energy costs as well.

Soft mint chewables with sanded coating

Confectionery with a sanded coating provides a natural looking artisan-style product that also allows for packaging in a paper bag or similar. This technology makes uniquely shaped gums possible, as only a thin coating layer is applied, compared to common coating technologies that blur and soften the edges of the candy. This coating does not require any new equipment and an excellent finished product can be achieved in less than an hour.

Experts at the BENEO-Technology Center created the new recipe concept – Rush – to show that creating soft mint chewables with a sanded coating is straightforward when BENEO’s isomalt is used. Isomalt ST was used within the Rush chewables to help create the sugar-free chewy candy, as well as to coat the candy core and provide the sanding effect. The end result is a stable chewable candy with excellent shelf life. In addition, the sanding process used on the soft mint chewables can also be applied to the gum and sugar-reduced chewy candies as well.

As can be seen with BENEO’s new confectionery concepts, versatile and exciting sensory candies and gums can be created using existing equipment, saving manufacturers both time and money. As consumer demands continue to shift and alter buying patterns across the confectionery sector in both the short- and long-term, it will be those manufacturers that are prepared to push the sensory boundaries that will give shoppers the excitement that they are looking for.


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BENEO has long-term experience in developing and producing ingredients from natural sources for food, feed and pharmaceutical products. These plant-based functional ingredients help improve the nutritional and technical properties of a wide variety of products, by supporting health and optimising taste and texture. The Company’s portfolio includes functional carbohydrates from sugar beet, prebiotic chicory root fibre, plant-based proteins and speciality ingredients from rice. Through a unique chain of expertise, including the BENEO-Institute that provides decisive insights into nutrition science and legislation, and the BENEO-Technology Center that consults in application technology, BENEO supports customers by providing ingredients that promote a healthy lifestyle in a holistic way.