Depending on whom you ask, confectionaries may encompass about everything that is sweet and very attractive to many people and particularly to children, even though they may at the same time be sour or salty.

In most cases the main component is sugar (saccharose, sometimes glucose) but today there are also confectionaries that are free from sugar, because the market of people who are loving sweets but at the same time want to remain (or become) slim and those who for health reasons cannot consume sugar is huge. Confectionaries also include fruits (cherries, currants etc.) and nuts (e.g. tree nuts and/or peanuts) covered with sugar. The more basic sweets are based on sugar with fruit flavour, natural or artificial, but the basis can also be gelatine, alginates and other non-sugar substances. Confectionary is often marketed as good for your health (containing vitamin C) or breath (menthol and peppermint), wakefulness (caffeine), against inflammation (liquorice) and a wonderful range of cures – although usually not supported by sound evidence, but often based on millennial long traditions. Chewing gum, chocolate, candies, liquorice, mints and cookies are examples of confectionaries.


This article was written by Huub L.M. Lelieveld of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), Wageningen, The Netherlands.



Bubble Gum









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