The Mars-owned firm said that pectin - mainly derived from citrus peel and apple pomace and more commonly used as a gelling agent – could be used as a texturizer in chewy candies.
“It has surprisingly been found that the use of pectin in a chewy confectionery product, without the use of traditional texturizing agents, can achieve a consistency and texture similar to, and in fact more well-liked and desirable than, that of traditional chewy confectionery products while eliminating the need for animal based ingredients such as gelatin and egg white,” said Wrigley in its patent application.
Meat and egg free
Traditional chewy confectionery products typically contain gelatin, starch, egg white or combinations as texturizing agents.
The most popular texturizer gelatin is derived from bovine or porcine, which prevents vegetarians and those who adhere to certain religious beliefs from consuming gelatin-containing sweets.
Another chewy candy texturizer egg white is also an animal product and could put off those with dietary restrictions. Starches are an alternative, but cannot perform the full function so gelatin is often used in combination.
Wrigley said in its patent application that pectin could open up chewy candies to a wider population.
Reduced cold flow
“The chewy confectionery product of the current invention also has some surprising advantages over traditional chewy confectionery products - these include reduced cold flow and stickiness and a cleaner-breaking bite,” said the firm.
Cold flow is when a product deforms under ambient conditions and cannot return to its original shape.
Egg white and gelatin are both proteins and are therefore temperature sensitive, making them liable to degrade and foul.
Wrigley conducted tests comparing a pectin-based chewy candy with ones containing egg white, starch or gelatin.
“Over a 7-day period there was no movement or cold-flow seen in the pectin based samples while the amount of movement and cold flow of the starch and gelatin samples was substantial,” it said.
The company said that pectin was added to the formula at a minimum amount of 0.2% by weight on a dry basis and the product should have low water content, preferably between 6-8%.
Wrigley filed its patent under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). National and regional authorities that are signatories to the Treaty will now consider its application.