When many people think of the candies they enjoyed in their youth, a characteristic citrusy sour flavor likely comes to mind. Now that these adult confectionery consumers are all grown up, so are their expectations—particularly when it comes to the desire for clean label products, even as the definition itself continues to evolve and expand.
As consumers seek ways to make their diet more plant-based and sustainable, pectin is rapidly displacing gelatin as a gelling agent of choice for gummy formulations. Pectin is a soluble fiber extracted from fruit and vegetable peels and pulps, making it an excellent choice of gelling agent in confectionery application. However, unlike gelatin, pectin is a “chemical” gelling agent, which means it requires a certain amount of solids and pH value to set.
Often, pectin-based formulations have moderate acidity and benefit from formulation with malic acid. At or around pH 3.2, malic acid has more buffering capacity than citric acid, making it a better defense against sucrose inversion. In turn, gummies and other soft candies are more stable on the shelf and chewier when consumed.
Malic acid also helps to prevent inversion in non-pectin-based applications more effectively when used with the right acidity regulator. For sour hard candies, malic acid helps to deter the stickiness on surfaces that can develop over time. With mellow, extended sour notes, malic acid—when combined with citric acid or other acidulants—makes fruit-flavored candies taste more like natural fruit than if using citric acid alone. Similar to malic acid, fumaric acid is less hydroscopic than citric acid and imparts a persistent, dry sourness that complements the taste of pectin-based confectionery.
To read this article in its entirety, check out the Permissible indulgence: Strategies for better-for-you confectionery – digital magazine.
Mohammad Emami has worked across the food and beverage industry, including roles in research and development (R&D), quality assurance (QA), operations and marketing. Currently, he is Bartek’s senior product manager, contributing to key growth initiatives for malic and fumaric acid within the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets. Emami’s previous roles were with GLG Life Tech Corp., The Oppenheimer Group and Comensoli Foods.