The German company, part of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe said sweets with minerals were relatively inexpensive to manufacture and could usually be incorporated into existing processes.
Sonja Postel, part of the firm's research and development team told ConfectioneryNews.com: “The benefit achieved by adding vitamins and minerals is positive marketing for sweets.”
“Fortification with vitamins is nothing new to consumers. But sweets fortified with minerals attract attention,” she said.
She said other industries have discovered the benefits of mineral formulations such as the yoghurt market.
Healthy or gimmicky?
Asked whether such sweets would give genuine health benefits, Postel replied: “In principle, minerals and trace elements make a positive contribution to health, because they are essential. But you do have to look at the end product and the eating habits of individual consumers in order to classify a food as ‘healthy’.”
She said SternVitamin was currently working with confectioners to develop sweets with these ingredients, but she would not divulge further information.
She accepted that some multivitamin sweets, cough sweets and fortified gummy bears were already on the market.
SternVitamin’s product ideas include children’s fruit gums with vitamins, calcium and magnesium and caramels with vitamin C, zinc and plants extracts that it says could fight coughs and colds.
Another idea is caramels containing antioxidants that it says have anti-ageing properties.
Postel said the antioxidant ingredients are proven to combat the effects of ageing but the extent to which sweets have anti-ageing properties would depend how much of the active substances is contained in the end product.
She said the cost of minerals; vitamin and plant extract formulations would depend on the required ingredient, the amount added and the desired recommended daily allowance values.
“As a rule, the cost factor is fairly small. SternVitamin has customers that use multivitamin mixtures, for example, and have material costs of less than 0.01 EUR per kilogram of the end product,” she said”
She added that manufacturers would usually be able to integrate vitamins and minerals into the existing process.
“It’s only important to ensure that the substances used for fortification are weighed exactly,” she said.
“The vitamins and minerals are then usually dissolved and processed further. If a mixer exists, that is no problem.”
“Whether the production process itself has to be adjusted, for example by pre-dissolving the vitamins in a small amount of water, will have to be examined in individual cases.”