Functional Chewing Gum Needs Compression, Not Extrusion, Says Zoft Gum


Room-temperature compression manufacturing-the kind used to make pharmaceuticals tablets-better protects active ingredients, the company says.

For functional chewing gums, room-temperature compression manufacturing-the kind used to make pharmaceuticals tablets-better protects active ingredients than the high-temperature extrusion process most common for chewing gum, says Zoft Gum (Port St. Lucie, FL). Zoft is a contract manufacturer/private labeler that specializes in functional chewing gum, as well as chewable tablets and candy.

Extrusion-typically used to produce conventional pellet-style gums, gum balls, and stick gums-heats a gum base to approximately 120°F, which can damage sensitive ingredients, the company says. Also, extruded gum requires a cooling period before it is coated and packaged.

By contrast, the compression process is dry and done at room temperature. Active ingredients are added to the powdered gum base, which is then tableted using direct compression.

Zoft’s CEO, Tim Holdy, told Nutritional Outlook that, while extrusion remains popular, his company suggests compression-albeit a more expensive process-for those companies looking to delivery functional ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, herbals, botanicals, and amino acids. (The company does also offer extrusion, though.) He says that most herbal extracts and active ingredients are sensitive to high humidity and high heat.

Holdy also talked about functional gum’s most popular ingredients today.

“For weight loss or appetite suppression, it used to be Hoodia gordonii, green tea, raspberry ketones, and acai berry that were very popular; lately, green coffee bean and African mango extracts have been popular,” he says. Others include probiotics, energy and caffeine ingredients, CoQ10 for heart health, zinc for immune support, ginger for digestive and nausea support, and calcium for bone health.

As a nutrient delivery system, functional gums enable quick absorption and do not require liquid for swallowing. Moreover, the company says, “Medical experts recognize functional gums and confectioneries as an often better way to get patients to take their doses regularly. They are also more attractive to the elderly and children who many have difficulty swallowing conventional pills."

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