Skip Navigation LinksGumlinkCC > News > News archive > 04.10.10 - Bulk sweeteners - not just a filler

October 4, 2010

Bulk sweeteners – not just a filler


Today, 90% of all chewing gum products are sugarfree. Instead of sugar, bulk sweeteners are added – but why?


In this article, we'll take a closer look at bulk sweeteners and discuss the reasons why this market trend is good for branders, private labels and of course, consumers.


What exactly are bulk sweeteners?

Bulk sweeteners are officially categorised as Polyols, or sugar alcohols. They are generally produced from starch and sugars, such as corn and wheat, and even though most bulk sweeteners are also found in nature, they exist in much smaller quantities.

Sugar, otherwise known as table sugar or sucrose, is sweeter than bulk sweeteners. To compensate, food manufacturers add small quantities of high-intensity sweetener (HIS). You can see the relative sweetness of the various bulk sweeteners in the table later in the article.


Composition of a traditional pellet

In terms of the composition of a traditional chewing gum pellet, the illustration above shows that bulk sweeteners make up 68% of the centre of a chewing gum. Bulk sweeteners are also used in the coating to produce a variety of sensations, for example crunchiness and cooling effect.


Why use bulk sweeteners?

To illustrate why bulk sweeteners have replaced sugar as the main ingredient of chewing gum, the remainder of this article will relate to information contained in the table below:


  Relative sweetness (compared to sugar) Calorific content per gram Climate stability Properties Price index
- Cost effective
- High cooling effect
- Crunchy
- Good dental benefits
- Crunchy
- Highly stable
- Allows strong coating
- Very high cooling effect
- Very crunchy
- Can't be used alone in
- Highly stable


Health benefits

In a world where health and wellbeing are part of everyday culture, many people are looking for different ways to lose weight. With between 0.2 and 2.6 kcal per gram, bulk sweeteners contain significantly less calories than sugar (at 4 kcal/g), which makes them the perfect alternative to other high-calorie snack products, like chips, chocolate, etc.

Another benefit of bulk sweeteners is that they don't contribute to tooth decay. With sugar, bacteria in the mouth break it down to form acid, which in turn attacks teeth enamel. With bulk sweeteners, this doesn't happen. Bulk sweeteners also avoid being completely absorbed into the bloodstream, which means they are suitable for consumption by diabetics.



As the table above shows, bulk sweeteners are often similar but never identical. When added to chewing gum, these different properties produce different chew experiences, such as gum texture, crunchiness of the coating, cooling effect in the mouth and overall sweetness of the product.

This variety of properties is good news for chewing gum manufacturers, as it allows them to develop products that are different from what consumers have come to expect from chewing gum.



When developing a new chewing gum, choice of bulk sweetener plays a major part in the overall cost. As the table above shows, Sorbitol is significantly cheaper than the other bulk sweeteners and explains its popularity in the chart below.

You can also see below that Maltitol is almost as popular, despite being 2.5 times higher in price. This is down to its inherently crunchy texture, which Sorbitol doesn’t have.

Erythritol is also starting to be adopted as a bulk sweetener, due to its extreme crunchiness, high cooling factor and low calorific content (at just 0.2 kcal/g). Uptake has been limited, however, by the high cost (price index 4.8).


Meeting the demands of today’s consumer

The near-exclusive use of bulk sweeteners in today’s chewing gum products is due to a combination of factors. As consumer appetite for new and unique products continues to grow, chewing gum manufacturers are using bulk sweeteners to produce exciting products that meet this demand…bulk sweeteners are certainly not just a filler.


We've given you a taste of how important bulk sweeteners are; why not contact our sales team to find out more?

Gumlink Confectionery Company A/S - Dandyvej 19 - 7100 VEJLE - DENMARK - T +45 4647 5400 - F +45 4647 5449 -
Sitemap | Disclaimer | Privacy