The PMCA’s 62nd annual production conference, which will be held April 7-9 in Hershey, Pa., kicks off the association’s second centennial by focusing on sugar-free technology in its Back to Basics training series. 

Monday, April 7

Back to Basics – Sugar-free Confections

Sugar Free – Confections Welcome and Introduction – Why Sugar Free?

Judy Cooley, senior staff scientist for international product development,The Hershey Co., reviews sugar-free confections currently on the market, both domestically and abroad and examines their projected growth.

Sugar-free Toolbox – Bulk ingredients and intense sweeteners

Peter Jamieson, manager of food applications,Corn Products Specialty Ingredients, tracks down the evolution of sugar-free confectionery in response to consumer demand for better-tasting, “good-for-you” treats. Today’s sugar-free products are more diverse and offer a level of quality and taste equal to that of their sugar counterparts. Ingredient manufacturers and product developers alike have come up with creative and functional solutions for replacing the sugars without sacrificing taste or texture. Jamieson discusses the current tools – in the form of low digestible carbohydrates and high intensity sweeteners – available, that product developers favor to create these high-quality, reduced-sugar, no sugar added and sugar-free confections.

Sugar-free Hard Candy–

Mark Puch, president,Primrose Candy Co., kicks off the introduction to sugar-free hard candy with a hands-on demonstration of the subtle formulation and processing changes needed to replicate taste and texture of their sugar counterparts. Puch goes over the typical ingredients used as well as highlights the critical control points in sugar-free hard candy production vital to ensuring the highest quality and longest shelf-life.John and Kim VessafromBottom Line Process Technologies, the processing equipment and help in the cooking demonstration.

Sugar-free Jellies and Gummies

In her presentation,Michelle Schwenk, research,Tate & Lyle, will review formulating and processing involving sugar-free gummies and jellies. Schwenk will cover most common sugar replacing bulking agents as well as high-intensity sweeteners suitable for the application. She will also touch on special processing considerations.

Sugar-free Gum

In addition to explaining the basic properties of sugar-free gum formulation, production and quality assurance,Michael Hendrickx, sales and technical assistance,Eurobase International, will demonstrate to attendees how gum is mixed in a small scale mixer.John and Kim Vessa, Bottom Line Process Technologies, Inc., will supply the equipment and help with the demonstration.

Tableting Sugarless Confections: An Overview of Ingredients and Processes for the Novice

Warren Clark, v.p. - R&D/QA,Ford Gum, talks about the challenges involved in tableting sugarless confections. While there are some similarities in working with sugar products, significant differences remain. Clark’s presentation offers insights into the ingredients, processes and problems encountered when approaching a sugarless confection tableting project.

Q&A Troubleshooting Panel Discussion

Panel speakers will facilitate an open and informative dialogue based on audience questions.

Tuesday, April 8

ModeratorsGraham Nice, regional sales manager,Doboy, Inc., andReginald Ohlson, retired,Mars Snackfood, oversee the day’s sessions.

PMCA Committee Updates
Jeffrey Fine, director of new products and technology,AarhusKarlshamn, USAand PMCA Research Committee chair, sums up the committee’s activities to date, including current grant-in-aid research projects. As committee chair,Dennis Zak, consultant,TMResource, LLC, provides a brief report on past and future Education and Learning Committee activities, including results of past short courses and plans for the next year.

Free Volume – Why Hard Candy Gets Sticky
Rich Hartel, dept. of food science,University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration withRenee LiethaandRajesh Bund, will cover theories of how moisture migrates within sugar glasses, recent experimental work on moisture penetration into hard candy, and potential methods of stabilizing sugar glasses against moisture problems. Even though hard candies – defined as glassy solids where the sugar molecules are found in a compact, but random, orientation – seem highly solidified, there is substantial free volume. Free volume is defined as the spaces between molecules into which small molecules can fit and move. Migration of water molecules into the sugar glass and diffusion of flavors out are related to the free volume within the glass.

Sweeteners: Providing Empty Calories or Functionality and Nutrition? The New Age of Functional and Nutrient Rich Caloric Sweeteners
Cheryl R. Mitchell, owner and chief research scientist ofCreative Research Management, investigates the world of functional and nutrient rich sweeteners, their physical properties, their availability as a commodity, and some of their distinctive and beneficial uses in formulations.

Gelatin Alternatives For Confectionery Products
Gregory R. Ziegler, professor of Food Science, in collaboration withLingyan Kong,a doctoral candidate, ThePennsylvania State University, examines strategies for gelatin replacement in a variety of confectionery products using other proteins, carbohydrate hydrocolloids and even lipids, depending on the properties of gelatin to be emulated. The ability to develop new textures in gelatin-based confections through the addition of a second hydrocolloid will also be examined.

Pearlescent Pigments – Making Confections Sparkle
Gale D. Myers, industry segment manager,Sensient Food Colors, explores the use of a new type of pigment, which the FDA permitted on July 5, 2006. Made with titanium dioxide and mica, this new colorant is a specific variety of a pearlescent pigment. Myers looks into the history and development of this pigment, an explanation of the U.S. regulations (where it can be used and at what levels), and how to use the material to manifest the sparkling effect in various confectionery applications.

Regulatory Update for the Confectionery Industry 2008
Alison Bodor, v.p.- regulatory & technical,National Confectioners Association, provides confectioners with an update on new industry regulations and issues affecting them in 2008 and beyond. She addresses the FDA's new food safety initiatives as well as its interest in revising the nutrition facts panel. An update on standards of identity for chocolate will also be shared.

Fundamental Mechanisms of Flavor Release/Perception in Confections
The PMCA’s Research Grant in Aid Project, which was conducted byAlicia Holts, a graduate student at ThePennsylvania State Universityunder the guidance ofDevin G. Peterson, associate professor of food science, reveals the results of extensive research conducted to define key flavor-flavor ingredient interactions that significantly influence flavor/release perception in hard candy. Results from both model systems (artificial mouth) and human trials (via breath analysis – real-time release kinetics of volatile flavor molecules)are analyzed. Findings surrounding the “flavor dosing” of the candy (flavor compounds added as a mixture or separately) and how this relates to practical applications in a manufacturing facility will also be discussed.

Chewing Gum Technology – Flavors & Textures
In his presentation, consultantDouglas Fritzanswers the following questions: What makes a chewing gum different from other confections? What is gum base and why are there different textures? How do flavorings and intense sweeteners interact with bulk sweeteners and gum base? And how can we achieve “longer lasting flavor?”

Food & Beverage Trends and Their Influence on Confections
Erin Kate O’ Donnell, marketing manager,David Michael Co., examines current flavor trends and future flavor predictions having an impact in the food and beverage industry and those likely to affect confections.

Awards Banquet
In addition to the traditional awards program, PMCA’s evening dinner banquet will offer a three-course meal featuring a “chocolate theme”, with other confectionery items as ingredient components. Hershey Lodge’s Executive ChefBill Justus, along with Executive Sous ChefMichael Wedderburn, will entertain the audience by making the evening’s meal, plus additional recipes, on stage, “Food Network” style.

Wednesday, April 9

The day’s sessions will be moderated by Ronald Bixler, retired, Mars Snackfood NA.

Product Development Disasters; Some Other Root Causes
Walter Vink, president,Vink Associatesand this year’s Hans Dresel Memorial Speaker, details -- through case histories – examples of well-researched, highly consumer-acceptable products that failed and offers advice on how such failures might have been avoided.

Panning – The Process
Dennis Zak, Consultant,TMResource, LLC, looks to take some of the mystery out of the panning process through discussion of the major processes that take place: crystallization and drying. The presentation focuses on hard panning, but the principles outlined can be applied to soft and chocolate panning as well. Zak will examine the factors that control crystallization, the role of water, drying, and how air flow impacts panned product quality.

CBEs - A technological challenge
Love them or loath them, CBEs (cocoa butter equivalents) represent a technological challenge to the chocolate developer. Chocolate consultantDave Cruickshankexplores the issues that must be addressed to successfully use CBEs in chocolate, including formulations designed to meet product and process specifications.

Texture Measurement in Confections
Firth K. Whitehouse, senior applications scientist,Cargill Inc., addresses the appropriate instrumental and sensory methods that can be used to measure texture in confections, using case studies to illustrate key considerations.

Approaches For “Feel Good” Confections
Knechtel, Inc.’ssenior consultant,Pamela Gesford, discusses new approaches designed to meet the nutrient gaps that exist in many American diets within a confectionery context. She zeroes in on specific nutrient examples and provide samples to demonstrate the impact of these nutrients in confections.