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New ways to sweet innovations

14 July 2010

With its Candy Innovation Matrix, BENEO-Palatinit says it is championing new ideas for sugar-free confectionery with Isomalt

A recent McKinsey study on recessionary strategies for food and drinks companies has found companies that invest in new concepts and fresh ideas during a recession are more successful in the long-term.

BENEO-Palatinit has long been a driver for innovation in the confectionery market for years. The sugar replacer ISOMALT provides manufacturers with a wealth of options for the development of new products to help them stand out on the market. To continue to bring a breath of fresh air to the confectionery market, the functional carbohydrate manufacturer has now created “Candy Innovation Matrix”.

Encouraging creativity: The Candy Innovation Matrix facilitates the development of creative and individual concepts for sugar-free candies with ISOMALT. It comprises a range of characteristics which can be combined as desired: flavour, texture, shape, functionality, melting properties, colour and appearance, packaging, combination options with other types of confectionary, such as chewing gum or chocolate, as well as various marketing positioning strategies.

Just like in a virtual innovation room with different dimensions, customers can combine features as desired – a creative basis for exciting new products.

To get a better idea of the type of sweets that can be realised using the Candy Innovation Matrix, BENEO-Group has already produced small batches of some of its own concepts, in co-operation with its long-standing partner Baker Perkins, UK. The concepts were developed by BENEO’s Customer Technical Service and Marketing departments in Mannheim, Germany.

Volcano: This sandwich candy combines a hot and cold mouth feel using chilli and ice flavouring. The top and bottom layers are transparent while the opaque centre’s colouring is volcanically red, matching the candy’s unique and unusual theme. The low viscosity of ISOMALT reduces any bubbling effect to the end product and the lower temperature at which the candies are deposited results in a better flavour. The concept of this candy is fully adaptable and means that any flavour can be considered.

Crushed candy: Crushed candy is an innovative type of sweet made using ISOMALT and which has particular visual and sensory properties. When held against the light, you can make out its cracked structure. The unusual appearance is down to the manufacturing process. The candies are moulded following the usual procedure, are individually packed into airtight flow-packs and are then submerged in liquid nitrogen for approximately ten seconds.

This cold shock causes the appearance of fine cracks inside the sweet. The surface, however, remains smooth and undamaged so that it can be easily sucked. When you bite into the candy, you get the full sensory experience: the fine cracks inside help to break into many small parts more easily, producing a large surface area over which the special full flavour is released. This method of production enables any flavour to be intensified.

“Coffee time”: Sweets known as “theme sweets” adopt a different approach in that they take the favourite moments of our day as a basis and mirror these in their taste. Whether as seasonal products or limited editions, theme sweets are a good way in which to awaken your curiosity and encourage impulse purchases. With theme sweets, no idea is too outlandish.

One concept product developed by BENEO is its “coffee time candy”, which tastes of cheesecake and coffee. In yellow and brown tones, this candy even reflects the colour of cheesecake and coffee. It has a beautiful glaze with practically no bubbles formation, thanks to the low viscosity of the ISOMALT melt.

Technological properties: ISOMALT is the only sugar replacer that is derived from pure sugar beet and has a sugar-like taste comparable to that of sucrose. Today, it is used in more than 2,000 products and is therefore the number 1 polyol in sugar-free hard boiled candies worldwide.

ISOMALT enables manufacturers to customize the nutrition profile, taste and appearance of confectionery in a multitude of ways. It supports a wide variety of colours and is closer to sugar in taste than any other sugar substitute. Studies have shown that the mild sweetness of ISOMALT allows fine, fruity flavours to be enhanced.

Candies with ISOMALT provide a long-lasting taste experience, due to the ingredient’s slower dissolution kinetics. With some sugar replacers, a cooling effect is generated by the negative heat of solution produced when dissolved in the mouth – this is not the case with ISOMALT. After all, what might be perfectly suitable for menthol candies does not work with creamy or fruity flavours. Moreover, ISOMALT does not have an additional aftertaste.

ISOMALT’s white, crystalline powder not only replaces sugar in a 1:1 mass ratio but will also act as a sugar substitute in terms of sweetness, texture and mouth feel. As ISOMALT has similar technological properties to sugar, manufacturers do not have to make any major adjustments to their production processes. ISOMALT is available in various varieties to meet differing customer needs.

Physiological properties
With its very stable molecular structure, ISOMALT has numerous nutritional benefits. It is toothfriendly, as it cannot be fermented by the plaque bacteria in the mouth, thus preventing the creation of tooth-damaging acids. Moreover, the body’s enzymes metabolise the polyol partially and slowly, which means that it has a calorie content of just 2 kcal/g. Being very low glycaemic, the effects on blood sugar and insulin levels are also minimal.

Anyone for any more?: In addition to ingredients, BENEO-Palatinit also offers customers and partners comprehensive support throughout the entire development, production and marketing process. Ingrid Willibald-Ettle, Head of Customer Technical Service at BENEO-Palatinit, explains: “The production of sugar-free confectionery requires specific know-how and experience.
For this reason, on request, a team of experts can be on hand to advise customers when it comes to practical implementation –also on site, if desired. Our technicians, who are highly experienced in providing support for product developments are able to define and advise on relevant and optimum process parameters, which means that the test phase and associated loss in production time can be kept to a minimum.”

A recent McKinsey study on recessionary strategies for food and drinks companies has found companies that invest in new concepts and fresh ideas during a recession are more successful in the long term.
Only companies that remain innovative and present in the throes of a recession are able to send customers and partners the right signal and establish trust. This show of strength pays off in the long term.

Researchers from McKinsey studied 1,000 companies over a period of 18 years and revealed on average, successful companies invested 22% more in the development of new products than less successful companies. As a result of this investment, after the economic downturn, there was a 25 per cent rise in the value of capital invested.

And in particular for food and drinks companies the following applies: investment in innovative products brings more of a long-term benefit than pure price competition.

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