CONFECTIONERY that reaps health benefits without the added calories or negative side effects... the latter sounds too good to be true. To satisfy the sweet tooth and to improve one's health are usually considered contradictory terms, however functional confectionery has slotted into this niche. What is Functional Confectionery?
Functional food can be defined as food that contains active ingredients that promote health in people beyond basic nutrition. In the foods arena the term is established and the products clearly visible in the market. Although less well known, functional confectionery has been present on the market for a few years now. Functional confectionery comes in different forms, such as hard-boiled candy, chewing gum, lollipops or gummy sweets. Functional confectionery such as oral healthcare and mentholated confectionery (providing nasal and throat relief) are nothing new to the market or to consumers. Chewing Gum for Everything?
The functional chewing gum market has innovated beyond measure and has diversified into many functional segments. Products for varied conditions such as weight management, antacid relief, aspirin for pain relief, nicotine addiction, dry mouth and motion sickness complaints are currently available in the market place. Functional chewing gum is an ideal medium for herbal supplements, due to the fact that the active ingredient is released over a period of time, thus allowing for the uptake for a number of ingredients. A major benefit of chewing functional gum is that no water is required, which is quite appropriate for the busy lifestyles that people lead today. Most herbal chewing gums are also sugar free, which is a highly attractive factor for calorie conscious consumers, yet these products still have the sweet taste expected for chewing gum. Innovation Getting Carried Away?
There has also been an explosion of much more innovative functional chewing gums into the market, which are at the concept or trial stage, offering benefits such as: breast enlargement, cholesterol lowering, immune health gum, omega 3, PMS & menopause gum, sleep aids, joint and pain, anti-ageing, acne treatment and cellulite treatment. The question one asks is whether all these innovative chewing gums actually truly work. Case Study: Dietary Formula Inc.
One company that guarantees the effectiveness of their product is Dietary Formula Inc. (also known as Pure Herbal Extracts), the pioneer of hoodia chewing gum. The company also manufactures and sells high quality herbal supplement products, containing plant extracts such as Sambazon a鏰i, Hoodia gordonii, Caralluma fimbriata, mangosteen, chia (Salvia hispanica), blueberry, and cha' de bugre (Cordia salicifolia). These supplements products are available in different forms, including capsules, candy, liquid and chewing gum. Dietary Formula, Inc. believes that one of the main benefits of functional chewing gum is that the functional ingredient is absorbed mainly through the saliva. For example, chewing hoodia gum and absorbing it through the saliva is 80 times more beneficial than absorbing it through the gut. But doesn't manufacturing destroy the herbal ingredients? With regards to manufacturing chewing gum, there is positive news. Not all gum needs to be processed with heat and no moisture is added, which keeps the naturally occurring compounds in the herbal supplements in their original state and prevents damage to the ingredients. For gums that are manufactured with heat, herbal supplements may be added after the heating process, which serves to keep the active herbal ingredients intact.
Figure 1 lists the differences between hoodia chewing gum and hoodia pills or capsules and indicates the advantages of using a functional chewing gum such as hoodia. Dietary Formula, Inc. has played a major role inMercurial Superfly Heritage FG