The history of sweets and candies is linked to the history of sugar (first cane sugar discovery around 500 BC and sugar beets discovery in 1747). After the Second World War, industrialization gave a second wind to sugar confectionery manufacturing, proposing new forms, textures and tastes.
Nowadays, consumers are willing to spend more to find healthier alternatives good for the environment, and delicious in the following months.
Manufacturers at ISM 2022 in Cologne suggested that experimenting with ingredients, such as substituting sugar with sweetened fruits and nuts, will be a trend to watch in 2022. The sector’s success is dependent on customer faith in the brands on the market. Consumers continuously scrutinise labels and contents to make informed judgments about their confectionery intake.
Types of confectionary products
The different types of confectionery products :
- Crystalline Candy (Fudge, Nougat, fondant)
- Hard candy, known as Non-crystalline Candy (Lollipops, candy canes, caramel)
- Jelly candy. Broad category of gelatin-based chewable sweets as gummy candy, gummies, jelly fruit candy and jellies, Aerated candy (marshmallow)
- Chewing gum
- Functional candies (vitamins, probiotics, prebiotics, …)
- Chocolate candies (link to cocoa page)
Crystalline Candy: Generally smooth & creamy. They contain crystals of sucrose in their finished form; able to align and form large lattices. They are best formed by slow cooling of a sugar solution, without stirring, which can disrupt crystal formation.
Non-crystalline (or amorphous) Candy: Generally hard & brittle. They are formed when crystallisation is prevented. This can be accomplished by the addition of sugars such as glucose and fructose that interfere with the development of crystals. Often, their mixtures are too viscous for crystals to form.
Jelly Candy: Produced using gelatin, pectin or carrageenan. They form a gel-like, thick solution when you mix it properly with the right amount of ingredients including water. Mixing gelatin properly in the right conditions will lead to the formation of a chewy gummy texture of the Jelly candy
Chewing gum: The basic building block of all chewing gum is “gum base”. Beyond gum base, the multiple attributes of finished chewing gum are largely the result of added sweeteners, colours, and flavours.
Common raw materials of the different types of candies are: Sugar (could be partially or completely replaced by sugar substitutes as polyols, sweeteners,..) gelatin, Glucose syrup, water, sodium citrate and citric acid, flavours and food colours.
Candies processed are based in the chemistry to obtain the size of sugar crystals to produce an array of textures. The science of candy making has been developed for centuries: It is not only the combination of ingredients that defines a product but also the way they are mixed together.
Regulatory Framework of Confectionary products
Council Directive 2001/111/EC relating to certain sugars for human consumption
Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers
Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 microbiological criteria for foodstuffs
Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 food additives (sweeteners, colourants,…)
Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 contaminants in foodstuffs
Countries’ regulations are in place in most of the EU countries.
Safety and Quality of the condiments, spices and herbs sector
Microbiological safety of this category is a challenge, given the global nature of the spice and dried aromatic herb industry, and the diverse ways in which spices and dried aromatic herbs are produced, processed and used. Microbial inactivation treatments are critical, but must be combined with other mitigations (validated microbial reduction treatments p.ex to control Salmonella spp) and controls as part of GHP, GMP and HACCP to ensure the safety of spices and dried aromatic herbs.
One of the main concerns in the Quality of Condiments, Spices and Herbs is Fraud.
Supply chains in the herb and spice industry tend to be long, complex and can pass through many countries. Such complexities present many opportunities for criminals to carry out Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA) . The
stages of the supply chain can include grower, collector, primary processor, local traders, secondary processor, exporter, importer, trader, processor / packager, food manufacturer / retailer / wholesaler, and finally the consumer. At any stage of this supply chain, a number of fraud opportunities can occur including misrepresentation, adulteration and substitution.
In the 2021 EU wide coordinated control plan to establish the prevalence of fraudulent practices in the marketing of herbs and spices, finding that the overall rate of suspicious samples was 17%.