Big candy companies embrace functional candy trend

NEW YORK Confections and gums with added “benefits,” claiming to perform such feats as improving bad breath, protecting teeth and soothing sore throats, are getting a boost from major candy makers who have recognized a trend in sales of candy multitaskers.

Candy makers, including Cadbury, Hershey and Wrigley, have introduced new formulations and flavors of teeth-whitening gum. Cadbury’s Trident White, Hershey’s Ice Cube White and Wrigley’s Orbit White boast tooth-whitening components, as well as breath-freshening additives, according to reports.

In addition to claims about added tooth and gum health, Wrigley is bringing to market new Eclipse gums and mints that contain magnolia bark extract, an herbal extract known to kill germs that cause bad breath. The new MBE gum and mints will hit retail shelves this spring.

Cadbury Adams has also announced an expansion on its line of Trident whitening gums containing Recaldent. Trident Xtra Care gums with more of the additive will hit markets this year. According to the makers, Recaldent is a tooth enamel-building ingredient derived from calcium. Wrigley has adapted its formula for Trident gum so that it now contains twice the amount of Recaldent currently packed into Trident White. The higher amount is supposed to increase the additive’s ability to stick to teeth.

And stretching confections further into the role of remedies, Bee M.D. based in Mooresville, N.C., has developed a new type of throat drop containing 40 percent honey, [compared to 1 to 10 percent of honey contained in other lozenge formulas on the market]. Part of the sales will be directed to the study of colony collapse disorder affecting the honeybee population.

Market analysis firm Vreeland and Associates, based in Harrisburg, Pa., has reported that sales of functional confections rose 1.8 percent to $1.5 billion in 2006, reversing a 6.7 percent decline the year prior.

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