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Carmit Candy CEO: Specialty know-how gives bite to functional candy shift

By Kacey Culliney , 28-Feb-2013
Last updated on 01-Mar-2013 at 11:36 GMT

Energy lollipops are one product in Carmit's new line
Energy lollipops are one product in Carmit's new line

Carmit Candy Industries’ expertize in specialty free-from candy formulations will give a competitive edge to its new line of functional confectionery targeting specific health functions and demographics, it CEO says.

The Israel-headquartered private-label manufacturer said it has been working on functional candy products for a number of years but only recently worked to develop “more sophisticated products”.

The firm has developed a weight-management wafer bar (with glucomannan and potato extract), a bone-health chocolate coin (with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K), immune-health sugar-free toffee chews (with echinacea, vitamin C and zinc) and energy lollipops. 

Speaking to ConfectioneryNews.com, company CEO Steve Grun said: “Functional confectionery is a new market segment for us. This is a significant project for us, and there is still a lot of product development that is on-going.”

“When looking at the market, we understand that we must find our competitive advantage,” Grun added.

Technical know-how

He said that the experience gained from specializing in gluten-free and dairy-free formulations would aid the company’s shift into the functional confectionery sector.

“Our experience in the gluten-free market has taught us how to develop and market products designed for a specialty market – where there are very clear, and sometimes difficult, nutrition, organoleptic and regulatory goals. We are now taking this same idea and applying it to fortified confectionery products,” the CEO said.

“We have a highly experienced research and development (R&D) team who think outside of the box and are able to create products where the nutrition ingredients are stable while retaining their great taste and good organoleptic profile.”

He said the company will fit the functional ingredients into the confectionery carriers according to the demographic group, health indication and ingredients used.

One of the major technological challenges in creating these products is to maintain a great taste and consumer acceptance, Grun said.

A contract twist with a sprinkling of health benefits

The new line of candies will be contracted to leading dietary supplement and functional food brands in the US and Europe, the company said.

“Carmit’s fortified and functional confectionery products are most definitely sophisticated and premium products… Many leading brands find it easier, faster and cheaper to buy a ready-made product from a contract manufacturer. We have already done the difficult work with product development and this allows them to ‘plug-and-play’ – to bring the product to market much faster,” the CEO said.

“Many supplement companies are looking for alternate dose-forms, as customers are getting ‘tablet-tiredness’. We have basically taken the same ingredients and dosages that are in pills or capsules and formulated them into a confectionery dose-form. This gives a new and fun dose-form that is easily accepted by customers,” he said.

Grun said that Carmit has considered different regulatory regimes when formulating the functional candy products.

All ingredients used are permitted for use in food in the different markets sold, like GRAS in the US or Novel Foods in Europe, he said.

“Of course, each country or region is different with regards to regulations and specifically health claims,” he added.

Health functions in high demand…

Carmit is targeting weight-management, bone-health and immune-health with its new functional confectionery line; health indications Grun said are well-known and in high customer demand.

“Weight-management is a huge consumer segment and public health necessity. ..Bone health is an important segment for both adults and children… Immune health is important for everyone – especially during winter!”

Carmit Candy Industries will showcase the new functional confectionery line for the first time at Natural Products Expo West in the US next month.