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Chapter 4: Confectionery

Sweeteners: Alternative
Pages 39-57
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/189112711X.004
ISBN: 1-891127-11-X


Topics Covered

  • Alternative Sweeteners Used in Confections
    • High-Intensity Sweeteners
    • Sugar Alcohols
  • Hard Confections
    • Hard Candies
    • Tableted Candies
  • Soft Confections
    • Chewing Gum
    • Fondants or Cremes
    • Caramels, Taffy, Nougats, and Fudges
    • Gelled Candies
    • Chocolates
  • Troubleshooting

Introduction to Chapter

The confectionery industry relies heavily on nutritive sweeteners for the many physical and chemical properties that they impart. The most commonly used sweeteners, sucrose, dextrose (glucose), and corn syrups, are fundamental in the production of confectionery items such as hard candy, caramel, taffy, chewing gum, chocolate, and gummed candies. In addition to their function in these items, they are widely used around the world because they are low in cost, readily available, and easy to use during processing.

The formulations of many sweetened confections are centered around the properties of sucrose, dextrose, and corn syrups. Depending on the final confection, these sweeteners provide sweetness, mouthfeel or body, graining or crystallization, texture, hardness or softness, shelf life, flavors, and colors. The formulations of many sweetened confections were developed decades or even centuries ago, and the processing parameters used to meet today's production requirements are very well known. The uses of nutritive sweeteners in confectionery applications are reviewed elsewhere (1).

The impact of daily diet and nutrition on overall health and wellness has been studied, and consumers have become informed about the effects that foods can have on their well being. Awareness of issues related to diet and weight gain and obesity, dental caries, and diabetic metabolism has helped to create a market for sugar-free and reduced-calorie products. These foods are made with alternative sweeteners, and a wide array of products, including confections, is currently available in the marketplace.

Many difficult technical challenges arise during the development of these types of confectionery products. The formulations, processing needs, and final product properties of hard candies obviously differ from those of chocolates, chewing gum, and caramels. Fortunately, many recent innovations in alternative sweetening, including the use of sugar alcohols and high-intensity sweeteners, have helped to solve these technical issues.