When chocolate was first introduced to China in the 1980s, most Chinese viewed it as a foreign and exotic curiosity. Nowadays, from chocolate balls and gold coins to sugar-coated chocolates, chocolate treats are everywhere in the country especially during the Chinese new year period. Excipients such as glazing agents and sealants are used to ensure that these candies have an appetizing shine as well as retaining their shape and flavor. Capol, a member of the Freudenberg Group and a leading supplier to the global confectionery industry, is often the company behind their production.
"A finishing treatment protects the confectionery products against mechanical damage. It also prevents chocolate from becoming sticky or beginning to melt in the hand", explained David Chen, Technical Sales Manager from Capol China. The glazing agent brings a shine to the surface of the candy. The surface is then coated with a sealant. This protects the gloss finish against humidity, keeps the candy from drying out and extends shelf life.
According to industry estimates, the chocolate segment is growing by more than 10 percent annually in China, outperforming the total confectionery market with its 2-3 percent average growth. Today, annual per capita consumption of chocolate in other Asian countries like South Korea and Japan is around 2 kilograms – ten times more than China. However, the Chinese appetite for chocolate is growing, and if China can catch up with other developed countries with its average chocolate consumption, it has the potential to become the world's largest chocolate market next to India. Such a large market requires high standards and a safe and efficient manufacturing process.
"Building on our stringent global quality standards and long-standing expertise, we are 100 percent committed to meeting the tough demands of the food industry in China", said Chen. Capol's newly developed products aim to decrease customers' processing time and dosage levels whilst maintaining or even improving overall performance and efficiency. "In addition, superior gloss is achieved even at a higher glazing temperature," Chen emphasized.
Innovative, safe and environment-friendly surface treatment applications for confectionery are constantly being developed at Capol. One example is a new anti-sticking agent range containing high-oleic sunflower oil. This natural, renewable oil replaces a commonly-used, yet less renewable ingredient while maintaining the sensory and stability performance. Chen added: "We want to contribute to a more sustainable confectionery industry in China".