According to Wrigley, chewing two pieces of itsnew fortified gum Extra Professional Calcium for 20 minutes can deliver 10 per cent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for the mineral.
A spokesperson for Wrigley told this publication that the calcium enriched brand was specially formulated for this market, in accordance with FSANZ standards (Food Standards Australia & New Zealand). "Similar calcium fortified products are already available in other Wrigley markets, such as Germany," she added.
An "Australian-first for sugarfree gum” , the manufacturer said that the calcium fortified gum meets the FSANZ standard 2.10.3, a 2009 adopted revision to Australian regulation that Wrigley had long sought.
In September 2006, Wrigley applied for permission from FSANZ to voluntary add calcium to ‘sugar-free’ gum, which would require an amendment of the Food Standards Code.
But February 2009 saw the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council questioning the merits of such fortification on the ground of public health and safety concerns.
However, FSANZ, in endorsing the application in July 2009, concluded that such health concerns were without foundation, and the regulator flagged up the potential dental benefits of the mineral enriched gum for consumers.
Under the FSANZ standard 2.10.3, calcium can only be added to chewing gum containing no more than 0.2 per cent residual sugars.
The regulation also states that a calcium claim for a gum product can only be made if the chewing gum contains no less than 80 mg (10 per cent of the RDI) of releasable calcium per serve; and the maximum quantity claimed is no more than 200 mg (25 per cent of the RDI) of releasable calcium per serve.
Wrigley explained that its test protocol is conducted in accordance with all requirements and recommendations of the FSANZ code by its global innovation centre in Chicago, in consultation with third party laboratories.
"The Code recommends mechanical chew out testing, whereby a specially designed machine simulates the chewing motion of a human mouth. The gum is tested for calcium at the start, and then the chewed in the machine for 20 minutes," said the company.
It added that the chewed gum is then retested for calcium, and the difference between the before and after tests is the amount of calcium released during chewing.
Wrigley said that it then supplements this mechanical chew method with actual people chewing the gum for 20 minutes, using the same "before and after" testing to determine released calcium.
Appeal to lapsed users
Shane Bonello, Wrigley pacific sales director, commented: “We know that consumers are increasingly seeking products that offer additional new benefits, so we believe that Extra Professional Calcium has the potential to expand the category by increasing per capita consumption and attracting new or lapsed users.”
Over the past five years, the gum category has grown strongly at 7.72 per cent in Australian and New Zealand. During this period, Wrigley’s total Extra Gum has grown 1.64 per cent, while its Extra Professional range has seen growth of 2.58 per cent, according to data from market researchers Aztec.
Good delivery format
Joseph Robinson, an analyst with Datamonitor, told ConfectioneryNews.com that, as a means of calcium delivery, fortified gum has the potential to gain traction among consumers due to the fact that the act of chewing is associated with dental health.
Chewing gum, he continued, appeals both to consumer demands for a “quick fix” and general consumer unwillingness to commit to dietary adjustments.
“Moreover, the Wrigley brand’s significant scale means that widespread consumer uptake is likely, which will inevitably lead to similar launches among the brand’s rivals,” said the analyst.
Datamonitor research shows that interest in calcium fortified food and beverage is highest among consumers in Western countries – particularly among older consumers.
Shoppers in Australia, the US and European countries such as Italy and Sweden have shown either an interest in or actively buy calcium-fortified products, reports the market research group.
However, Robinson cautions that though consumers understand where calcium comes from and its health benefits, they are less clear about how much they actually need to consume, with many assuming that their intake levels are already high enough.
FSANZ says that to achieve the RDI of 800mg of calcium, Australian adults should be consuming daily 2 to 3 servings of foods rich in the mineral such as milk and dairy products, leafy green vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds.
Wrigley points out that as part of the launch, it will initiate a healthcare professional outreach programme to drive awareness of the fortified gum with consumers.